DALLAS, March 19 (Ticker) -- The first day of the rest of Avery Johnson's life began with a win.

Hours after permanently succeeding Don Nelson as coach, Johnson guided the Dallas Mavericks to a 104-93 victory over the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, who have lost 10 in a row.

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Dirk Nowitzki made the transition easier with 33 points for the Mavericks, who had lost six of their last 11 games. That prompted Nelson to say at an afternoon news conference that the team needed "a new voice" as he resigned, second on the all-time wins list with 1,090.

That voice will be the unique drawl of Johnson, who was being groomed as a successor to Nelson. He filled in one game earlier this season, went 7-3 in January as Nelson recovered from shoulder surgery and won two of three last week as his mentor left to be with his wife, who had undergone surgery.

"It was an emotional day for me," Nowitzki said. "To know that I'm not going to see him every day is going to be weird. Obviously he's going through a tough time in his life with his health and his wife, too. He doesn't have that fire anymore, so I guess it's a good time for him to step down."

Under Johnson, the Mavericks did not look much different. They still ran the floor on offense, appeared inattentive on defense and struggled at home against a subpar foe.

"We still didn't reach our goal. Our goal is to hold teams to 20 points in each quarter and we didn't get that done tonight," Johnson said. "Defense is the key. If we're going to go far in the playoffs, we have to play defense."

"Defense has always been one of our problems," Nowitzki said. "We always have had great lineups out there that can get it done offensively. Defensively when it came down the stretch, we never really found the big stops in the playoffs. Obviously I still think we have a long way to go."

After Nowitzki gave up an easy basket early in the third period to Bobcats center Primoz Brezec, who scored 16 points, Johnson pulled him for a few minutes.

"He got kind of yanked out of the game early in the third quarter because I was not pleased with his defense," Johnson said. "But we're on the same page."

"I didn't do my job defensively," Nowitzki said. "I let the guy get the ball too deep and (he) scored right on me. That's a message that he's sending to me and to everybody that nobody is getting a break out there. I came right back in and I thought I did a better job. I think we all have to believe in the system and believe in Avery now and if he makes a point, we all have to take it. I think it was well-taken."

Nowitzki made 12-of-20 shots, including a pair of hoops in a decisive run at the end of the third quarter and two more down the stretch to seal the win.

Jason Terry had 18 points and nine assists and Marquis Daniels scored 17 points for the Mavericks (43-22), who continue to play through injuries as they march toward their fifth straight playoff berth.

"I felt very confident going into tonight," Terry said. "Like I said this afternoon, the coaching change was not a distraction for us."

"Avery really gave him a lot of confidence in doing it now," Nowitzki said. "Avery is really ready. He's been showing it over the past couple of weeks when he had to take over."

Keith Bogans made six 3-pointers and scored 27 points for the Bobcats, who also have lost 11 straight road games. They used just eight players, with six scoring in double figures.

"Bogans had a big night on us," Johnson said. "We will watch every one of his six threes on film tomorrow."

Nowitzki scored 20 points in the first half as Dallas opened a 61-50 lead. Charlotte got back in the game with a 10-0 burst and actually took a 69-68 edge before a basket by Daniels triggered an 11-4 surge to close the quarter.

"I was very disappointed with our defense in the first quarter and pleased with it in the fourth quarter," Johnson said.

A pair of 3-pointers by Bogans around two free throws by Daniels cut the deficit to 92-88 with 4:32 left. Over the next two minutes, Nowitzki made two free throws and two jumpers to rebuild the advantage to 99-89 with 2 minutes to go.