DALLAS, March 3 (Ticker) -- After losing to one of the NBA's elite teams, the Dallas Mavericks took out their anger on the slumping Charlotte Bobcats.

All-Star Dirk Nowitzki collected 26 points and nine rebounds and Jason Terry scored 10 of his 17 points in the pivotal third quarter as the Mavericks bounced back for a 90-76 triumph over the Bobcats, who have dropped their last three of four games.

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Dallas (46-12) moved one-half game ahead of idle San Antonio (45-12) for sole possession of first place in the Southwest Division, also reclaiming the best record in the Western Conference. The Mavericks were coming off Thursday's road loss to the Spurs.

"It was kind of hard to get up for this game," said Nowitzki, who made 9-of-17 shots. "We came home last night, obviously, after a disappointing loss for us and this organization. We had high hopes going into that game."

Charlotte held a 37-36 advantage at intermission before Dallas took over and pulled away for good in the third quarter. Terry nailed a shot from the arc, capping off a 11-0 burst through the first 4 1/2 minutes of the period.

"The first half, we kind of walked through it," Nowitzki said. "We didn't really get anything going. So the second half was big. We finally made some shots, got some stops, moved the ball and kind of played Mavericks basketball."

 "I thought we had a chance when we came in at halftime and we were up one," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickserstaff said. "We shot 32 percent but I thought this was a game that also defined Dallas, as much as the game last night, as a basketball team. They had all of the hype playing San Antonio and coming up they play Phoenix. I thought Avery Johnson had them ready to play."

Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier scored consecutive baskets to help the Mavericks build a commanding 65-45 edge with just under three minutes left. The Bobcats never threatened thereafter.

"At halftime, coach came in and said, 'Man, last night is over,'" said Terry, who made 3-of-5 from the arc. "We really got that behind us and the second half we played Mavs basketball."

 Dallas shot 72 percent (13-of-18) from the field in the third quarter, outscoring Charlotte, 34-15. Meanwhile, the Bobcats struggled to finds their touch, connecting on just 5-of-17 shots, including 0-of-3 from the arc.

 "Avery had a really good speech and a couple of good words for us, obviously, after that little disappointing first half," Nowitzki said. "The energy was a lot better. Defensively we got some stops and rebounded the ball pretty good. We made some open shots and moved the ball. We were playing the basketball that we have been the last month or two."

Adrian Griffin scored nine points and Dampier added nine and 14 rebounds for the Mavs, who shot 46 percent (36-of-78) to overcome 20 turnovers.

"We were a little out of it the first half, but I think the second half we realized that we definitely can't give this game away," Griffin said. "It's a good win. I thought after last night it was a terrific win."

Stackhouse, who scored nine points, was fined $30,000 on Friday for publicly criticizing the referees after Thursday's 98-89 loss at San Antonio.

"A lot has happened in a day and a half, and we are still able to smile about it," Stackhouse said. "I think that's the good thing about this game and this league. A lot of things happen and as long as you continue to smile and go out and do what we enjoy doing, everything's going to be all right. Sometimes you've got to blow the stack a little bit - no pun intended."

Mavericks forwards Josh Howard (hamstring) and Keith Van Horn (sprained left knee) left with injuries in the first half.

 "(Josh is) day-to-day," Johnson said. "He kind of tweaked his leg a little bit but right now, talking to the doctor and Josh, I expect him back. The doctor told me (Keith) just kind of tweaked his knee a little bit and like Josh, he's pretty much day-to-day."

Gerald Wallace had 14 points and eight rebounds and rookie Raymond Felton and Jumaine Jones scored 11 points apiece for the Bobcats, who shot 35 percent (26-of-74) and were outscored, 44-26, in the paint.

"I think we're still professionals," Wallace said. "We need to keep our mental toughness and play the game for all four quarters."