Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 100, Magic 98

ORLANDO -- How it happened: Let’s be honest. Jason Terry has driven you nuts this season.

You love him. You hate. You love him. You hate him. On and on it goes.

He was awful Thursday against Miami, and had no impact on the first three quarters against Orlando. Dirk made the game-winner with five seconds left, but Terry made it possible.

But the trait that has made Terry a difference-maker in Dallas is that he has no fear of the moment. He often plays his best basketball after his worst performances because he has supreme self-confidence.

No matter how many shots he misses, Terry always believes the next one is going to drop. And he can find the zone athletes always talk about and stay in it longer than most.

After a forgettable game Friday against Miami - he was 1-for-10 - and after not having an impact during the first three quarters, Terry took over on offense and defense.

He scored seven consecutive points, grabbed a couple of rebounds and made a steal as the Mavs erased a 15-point deficit late in the third quarter to tie the score with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter

Maybe, it’s as simple as he wore his trademark headband and high socks in the second half. In the first half, he went without his headband and socks because of an off-season bet he lost to Orlando’s Jameer Nelson.

Whatever the reason, without his performance in the fourth quarter and Shawn Marion’s work in the third quarter, the Mavs would’ve never been in position to win.

Terry finished with 17 points and the Mavs picked up their latest most important victory of the season because it keeps Dallas a game ahead of ninth-place Denver in the loss column.

What it means: Maybe this is the win that gets the Mavs rolling. They were 3-18 when trailing at any point by 10 points in a game and were just 1-19 when trailing after three quarters. Considering the Mavs trailed 77-62 late in the third quarter this was among their most unlikeliest wins of the season.

Bold play:Dwight Howard showed the full array of his athleticism early in the third quarter. After Shawn Marion bobbled a pass on the right wing, Howard outraced him to the ball, scooped it up and made a whirling pass into the front court to Jameer Nelson, who threw a lob to Howard. Although the pass was behind him, Howard reached way back with his right hand and slammed it home for a 59-52 lead.

Stat of the night:The Mavs went 7-7 in February and are 9-8 in March after slipping past Orlando to avoid posting consecutive non-winning months for the first time since 1999.