Dirk Nowitzki joked that a tranquilizer gun for Tyson Chandler was a consideration before the Mavericks faced their motivational leader's former team.
The Dallas big man channeled his energy the right way.
Chandler set season highs with 17 points and 25 rebounds and Nowitzki scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime Wednesday night, helping the Mavericks to a 109-102 victory against the New York Knicks, who were missing Carmelo Anthony.
"He was obviously amped up for this one," said Nowitzki, who had his season high in points. "And we wanted to get this one for him. I think this was definitely one that he wanted to have."
J.R. Smith, starting with Anthony sidelined by back spasms, was 1 of 10 from the field entering the fourth quarter. But he made a tying jumper with 0.9 seconds left in regulation.
Chandler put Dallas ahead for good at 101-99 with a dunk in his first game against New York since an offseason trade that brought him back to Dallas after three seasons with the Knicks.
He was the spiritual leader and defensive stalwart for the Nowitzki-led Mavericks when the franchise won its only championship in 2011.
"At the beginning of the year, you always look at the calendar and mark it," said Chandler, who finished three rebounds shy of the career high he had with the Knicks exactly two years earlier against Brooklyn. "But honestly once you get caught up in the season, it's not as big as it's made out to be."
It turned into an entertaining reunion of sorts for both teams.
Jose Calderon, the biggest name going New York's way in the six-player deal, matched a career high with seven 3-pointers for all of his 21 points. Knicks center Samuel Dalembert, another player in the trade, had his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
"It has nothing to do with playing against Dallas," said Calderon, who missed the first 13 games with a calf injury. "I am feeling healthy and getting into a rhythm."
Devin Harris gave the Knicks an opening by missing one of two free throws with 7 seconds to go. Smith hit the tying jumper over the outstretched arm of Al-Farouq Aminu from just inside the 3-point line. Smith finished with 15 points.
After Smith hit a jumper to put New York up 99-97 in overtime, Nowitzki started a 9-0 run with a jumper and Chandler put the Mavericks ahead for good when J.J. Barea knocked the ball loose from Dalembert after a rebound and Monta Ellis kept it from going out of bounds with a toss to Chandler under the basket.
Knicks: Second-year PG Shane Larkin, another player in the Chandler trade, had three points on 1-of-5 shooting. ... Pablo Prigioni was 4 of 5 from long range for all of his 12 points. ... New York had a season-high six players score in double figures. The others were Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire with 10 apiece.
Mavericks: PG Raymond Felton, the other player Dallas got in the Chandler trade, was still sidelined by what coach Rick Carlisle said was a setback with his sprained right ankle. He hasn't played for the Mavericks yet. ... The Mavericks avoided a second straight loss to a short-handed Eastern Conference team. They lost two nights earlier to Indiana, which didn't have any of its five starters from last season's conference finalist.
Dallas also won despite another dreadful night from 3-point range, going 4 of 31 from beyond the arc. Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Harris, starting with Jameer Nelson sidelined by back spasms, were 3 of 21 combined.
"I can't put my finger on it," Nowitzki said. "We're stepping into them aggressively. I don't think we're hoisting a bunch of bad shots."
Knicks: Finish three-game trip at Oklahoma City on Friday.
Mavericks: Start four-game trip at Toronto on Friday.