The Mavericks won their fifth straight Saturday, 103-94 over Boston to move within one game of Southwest Division-leading San Antonio. The Spurs lost to Atlanta on Saturday night.
Dallas improved to 8-1 when scoring 100 or more points, although it struggled to maintain a big lead over the Celtics.
The Mavericks led by 17 in the third quarter, but allowed Boston to pull within 88-87 with 4:44 to play. The Mavs answered with eight consecutive points and DeSagana Diop blocked two late layup attempts to help Dallas hold on.
The Mavericks also converted seven of eight free throws in the final 42 seconds to secure the win. Dallas went 33 of 43 from the line and had a season-low 15 personal fouls, sending Boston to the line only 14 times.
“I just attacked the basket,” Harris said. “That’s why I got (to the line) so often.”
Admitting he would be playing at less than full strength, Terry still started against Boston and finished with 12 points in 22 1/2 minutes.
“It’s an injury that will be there, but I can play through it,” said Terry, who missed Dallas’ previous two games. “I’m not 100 percent, but I was able to get up and down.”
Dirk Nowitzki fell six points shy of reaching the 30-point mark for a fifth straight game, but made all 10 of his foul shots.
“It was a game of waves,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. “We had a big lead and they got it down to one. It just shows we have a lot to work on. We aren’t a team that has arrived yet. We don’t have the ability to put away teams like I would like to.”
The Lakers, who fell back to .500 on Saturday, can relate.
Los Angeles failed to extend its four-game winning streak and lost 95-82 to Minnesota. The Lakers haven’t won five in a row since April 2004.
“It wasn’t a pretty game for us tonight,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We didn’t move the ball well or create the kind of assist ratio that we have been used to.”
Kobe Bryant, who had averaged 8.5 assists in his two previous games, had only three Saturday. He scored 35 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the field and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line.
The Lakers have dropped four of the past six meetings with the Mavericks after winning 46 of the previous 51.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 11): Lakers - 4th place, 4 GB, Pacific Division. Mavericks - 2nd place, 1 GB, Southwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Lakers - Bryant, 30.8 ppg; Odom, 9.3 rpg and 5.7 apg. Mavericks - Nowitzki, 26 ppg and 8.9 rpg; Harris, 3.8 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: 2-2.
LAST MEETING: April 17; Mavericks, 114-112. At Los Angeles, Nowitzki had 24 points and eight rebounds, and five teammates scored in double figures to help the Mavericks win their seventh straight. Bryant had 33 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Lakers dropped their fourth straight.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lakers - 6-5 on the road; Mavericks - 7-2 at home.