CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 11 (Ticker) -- A little rest did Dirk Nowitzki a world of good. It didn't hurt Devin Harris, either.

Nowitzki scored 23 points and Harris added 21 to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a 98-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

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A four-time All-Star, Nowitzki left Wednesday's loss at Philadelphia in the second quarter with a strained back. The German gunner had missed only 17 games in the last four seasons and came through from the outset Friday.

"(My back) felt great," Nowitzki said. "I got loose really good in warmups, was feeling well and told Avery (coach Avery Johnson) I wanted to play tonight and that was that."

"He's a warrior," Harris said. "He's going to play through injuries all year long. His back was hurting him pretty good, but he still came out and gave the effort tonight. That just shows what kind of player he is."

Nowitzki played a game-high 40 minutes after being a game-time decision to dress.

"I didn't want him to play 40 (minutes)," Johnson said, "But he felt pretty good and he looked OK out there tonight."

"Great players do that," Charlotte forward Melvin Ely said. "He's one of the best power forwards in the league. Him being hurt is nothing. Great players ignore pain; they do what needs to be done for their team to win."

Nowitzki scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half as the Mavericks opened a 47-39 lead. The Bobcats, who never led, were lucky to be that close as they missed 12 of their last 13 shots.

"They usually play people tough here," Harris said. "We didn't want to be in a situation where we had to come from behind. We wanted to get out early and sustain the lead and keep it going."

Harris also left Wednesday's game with a sprained left ankle but like Nowitzki was not affected. Harris scored 14 points in the third quarter, when Dallas outscored Charlotte, 34-23, to take a 19-point lead into the final period.

"It seems like I respond after having a bad first half," Harris said. "I just went out there attacked the basket (in the third quarter) and got some good looks. I just didn't think and went out there and played some basketball."

Nowitzki added seven points in the third quarter and finished with 16 rebounds and four assists.

"He really did a great job for us on the boards especially with his back." Dallas forward Keith Van Horn said. "We really focused on finishing off defensive possessions with rebounds. When he's on the court he's going to make things happen."

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Mavericks.

Ely scored a season-high 14 points off the bench and Kareem Rush had 13 for the Bobcats, who have lost three straight games since going above .500 for the first time in franchise history.

The Bobcats were outrebounded, 45-36, and shot 36 percent (24-of-67) from the field. Charlotte set a franchise record for free throw attempts with 52.

"I can't put my finger on it but we were lethargic as hell," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "I don't know whether we are coming into the building ready to perform."