Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 98, Nets 90

How it happened: Dallas did the dominating during the third quarter this time.

A couple of nights after a miserable third quarter in Memphis, the Mavericks seized control of the game coming out of halftime in Brooklyn.

The Mavs outscored the Nets by a 29-14 margin in the third quarter, breaking open a game that featured 15 lead changes. Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, 8-14 FG) and Vince Carter (20 points, 7-12 FG) had seven points apiece in the third. Dallas took the lead for good with a 7-0 run and finished the frame with an 11-2 spurt before opening the fourth quarter with another eight consecutive points.

Dallas needed that cushion to withstand a Nets push in the fourth. Brooklyn went on a 24-8 run to slash Dallas’ lead to four points with a 37.4 seconds remaining.

Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams, the Mavs’ primary free-agent target last summer, led the Nets with 24 points but committed seven turnovers.

What it means: The Mavs (26-32) snapped a three-game losing streak with a rare road win over a team with a winning record. Their only other road victory over a plus-.500 foe came Dec. 8 at Houston. With this win, the Mavs remained five games behind the eighth-place Rockets, who beat the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

Play of the game: Carter rebounded an air ball by Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic and fired a three-quarters-court outlet pass to Shawn Marion for a breakaway slam with seconds remaining in the third quarter. That put an exclamation point on a dominant third quarter, stretching the Mavs’ lead to 14.

Stat of the night: Nowitzki has scored at least 20 points in four of the past five games. He had a total of only four 20-point performances before the All-Star break.