CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points, Jason Terry had several key buckets down the stretch, and the surging Dallas Mavericks beat Charlotte 89-84 on Monday night to spoil the Bobcats' first game since Michael Jordan agreed to buy the team.
Jordan's presence courtside and a difficult travel schedule couldn't stop the NBA's hottest team from their eighth straight win. Caron Butler added 22 points and Terry scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Dallas, which rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit.
Stephen Jackson scored 20 points, but also had six of Charlotte's 20 turnovers. Tyrus Thomas added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who dropped to 0-12 against the Mavericks, the only team they've never beaten.
It was a sour end to an eventful day for Jordan, who late Friday reached a deal to buy the club from owner Bob Johnson.
The former NBA superstar, who has rarely attended practices or games in the past, showed up at the morning shootaround and played two games of H-O-R-S-E with rookie Gerald Henderson - losing both.
Jordan, wearing a red jacket, sat in his courtside seat next to the Bobcats' bench, and seemed to be already be doing some of the handshaking necessary when he's expected to be approved as majority owner by the end of the month.
While Jordan declined to speak to reporters, he chatted up the head of Charlotte's chamber of commerce and the city's former mayor during a second-quarter timeout He joked with some season-ticket holders on the floor at halftime, frequently checked his phone and shouted at the officials over calls.
He watched his Bobcats build an early 20-9 lead over the sluggish Mavericks, who were given no favors by the NBA schedule.
Their home game Sunday night against New Orleans started late because of television purposes, and they didn't arrive in Charlotte until after 4 a.m. Monday.
"Thx to NBA sched maker for giving us about 3 hours sleep before tomorrow's game," Dallas owner Mark Cuban posted on Twitter on Sunday night.
But after falling behind 55-43 in the first minute of the third quarter, Nowitzki got hot. Hours after being named Western Conference player of the week, Nowitzki scored 10 points in the third quarter on a variety of fadeaway and turnaround jumpers, getting Dallas within 68-66.
Terry then took over in the fourth.
He hit a mid-range jumper, bank shot and 3-pointer in a 13-1 run to put Dallas ahead 83-75 with 4:43 left.
Charlotte got within 85-81 on Jackson's 3-pointer, but Terry scored on a runner with 1:15 left, and Nowitzki hit two free throws with 8.8 seconds left to put it away.
NOTES: While the Bobcats are looking for backcourt help, GM Rod Higgins ruled out signing Larry Hughes because his broken finger will sideline him for several weeks. Higgins said he talked to Mike James' agent, but called the chances of signing him "remote." ... The Mavericks were called for four defensive 3-second violations. ... Bobcats coach Larry Brown on Duke product Henderson beating ex-Tar Heel Jordan in H-O-R-S-E: "I hope that's not an omen for the Duke-Carolina game. That's my main concern."