Mavs rally past Magic to stretch division lead

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ORLANDO (Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks rallied from an 11-point deficit to strengthen their grip on the Southwest Division lead with a 95-85 road win over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

The Mavericks (34-21) had looked on course for defeat until embarking on a 19-0 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters.

Dirk Nowitzki initiated the surge with back-to-back baskets, before Jason Terry hit a three-pointer at the end of the third to narrow the deficit to four.

Dwight Howard led all scorers with 29 points for the Magic (37-19) and added 16 rebounds to record his league-leading 44th double-double.

While the Mavericks were heating up offensively they also tightened up on defense.

"The defense was great" the Mavs' newly acquired Caron Butler told reporters. "We got off to a slow start, but we clawed our way back and Brendan (Haywood) did a great job on Howard."

Nowitzki led the Mavs with 23 points, including 15 in the second half, with four of the German's team mates chipping in with double-digit contributions.

Butler scored 16 points as did Terry, while Haywood scored 15 and Kidd had 10.

Orlando's Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson had 16 points each.

However, the Magic's reserves scored just six points in support of the starters and the team struggled from three-point range, hitting just 4-of-25.

"They weren't able to get it going from the three-point line," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.

"We did a little double teaming, but for the most part Brendan (Haywood) played Howard straight up and that allows you to stay closer to the three-point shooters."

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy rued the weak performance from his bench.

"Probably should have stuck with the starters," he told reporters. "Our bench has been pretty good. That's not typical."

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Peter Rutherford and John O'Brien)