WASHINGTON, March 17 (Ticker) -- The Mavericks have put the "D" back in Dallas.

Jason Terry scored 10 of his 25 points in the pivotal third quarter and the Mavericks blocked eight shots en route to a 104-94 victory over the high-scoring Washington Wizards.

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"We put together an overall complete game," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "I'm really proud of the way these guys battled tonight. They're playing tough, hard-nosed defense.

"This was a high-scoring team over their last five games or so. Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas are a handful, but I thought these guys took a defensive challenge. We were physical. We gave hard fouls. I thought everybody contributed to the defense and we really moved the ball on offense."

Dirk Nowitzki added 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks (52-14), who are in a chase with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs for the Southwest Division title and the conference's best mark.

"We're defense first," said Nowitzki, who blocked three shots. "If you look at the champions of the last couple of years, Detroit and San Antonio, I think that's the kind of style you have to play to win these days. You have to be tough-minded on the defensive end and you've got to rebound.

"We're making a commitment to play good team defense. We've gotten a lot better, but if we want to do better in the playoffs, we've still got some work to do."

The Mavericks held a 52-50 halftime lead before Terry came alive, making 4-of-6 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.

"That's the Jason Terry that I (like to) see," Johnson said. "I know he's not going to make every shot, but when he's aggressive to score that's one of the ways I sleep good. I don't elbow my wife when he shoots like that."

Terry helped Dallas widen its advantage to 81-69 entering the final period.

"Coach challenged us in the locker room (at halftime)," Terry said. "We hadn't played our best ball and we were up two. It's a situation where you're on the road and you have to come out with energy. You can't let them make the first run. We have a team that wants to make them call the first timeout and they did that. We just continued to keep the pressure on them and it paid off.

"That's fun basketball. Our numbers are out the roof when we're moving the ball side to side and getting good looks. Guys are penetrating and making the extra pass, and that's what it's all about - good team basketball."

The Wizards got no closer than eight points thereafter. Two jumpers by Nowitzki built the lead to 90-73 with just over eight minutes to go, and the Mavericks led by double digits to the buzzer.

"They were in a rhythm tonight and we couldn't get them out of it," said Jamison, who had 21 points and nine rebounds. "They made it tough for us the whole game."

Former Wizard Jerry Stackhouse scored 17 points off the bench and Marquis Daniels added 15 and eight assists for Dallas, which has won three in a row and six of seven. Stackhouse was booed every time he entered the game.

"Yeah, man, that's all good," Stackhouse said. "I guess it's a good thing, either they miss me or something, I don't know what it is, but I just don't think the fans really understand the dynamics. There were a couple of not-so-great articles, things out of my control that I couldn't control after I got traded."

Stackhouse waved to his former fans as he left the court with a victory.

"Keep it coming, keep it coming," he said. "It's all good. Makes me guess the last time I was here they were booing me, I had 29, and I had a pretty good game tonight. Hopefully they'll continue it next year. It makes me feel like the guy again."

Arenas scored 26 points for the Wizards (33-31), who had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell one-half game behind Indiana for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.