DALLAS, April 2 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki put an end to the Dallas Mavericks' struggles.

Nowitzki collected 30 points and 12 rebounds as the Mavericks stopped a season-high three-game losing streak with a 103-79 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

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Jason Terry added 21 points and Josh Howard 20 for the Mavericks (55-19), who took control of the game in the second half en route to winning for just the third time in eight games.

As usual, Nowitzki led the way for the Mavericks. The All-Star forward made 10-of-19 shots and all eight of his free throws.

"We had a lot more of a sense of urgency early on, said Nowitzki, who scored at least 20 points for the 21st straight game. "Our defense was actually really solid today."

Nowitzki scored seven points in an 18-3 run in the third quarter that turned a tie game into a 69-54 lead. He capped the burst with a 3-pointer at the 3:01 mark.

"Offensively, we were really moving the ball," Nowitzki said. We were finding the open guy and really attacking the basket too on penetrations. If it wasn't there, we moved it and the next guy was in attacking mode. We were just aggressive tonight on both ends of the floor. If we come out like that, we give ourselves a great chance to win the game."

"I think we did a pretty good job (on Nowitzki)," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "At the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter is when Dirk exploded. We had him at 16 or 17 points until the end of the third quarter, but we went to more trapping which gave him more rotation open looks."

Erick Dampier also contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards for Dallas, which moved within 2 1/2 games of idle San Antonio for first place in the Southwest Division.

Dampier's inside basket at the 8:17 mark of the third quarter gave the Mavs the lead for good and triggered the decisive burst.

"Whenever they call my name I just go out there and do whatever I can," Dampier said. "Whether its rebounding, playing defense or scoring, whenever I get the opportunity, I just try to make the most of it. If the team doesn't have the intensity to get it going, sometimes that gives us a boost while we're out there."

In snapping their skid, the Mavs shot 52 percent (37-of-71) and held a 42-30 rebounding advantage.

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and Andre Miller and Ruben Patterson added 14 apiece for Denver (41-33), which lost for the third time in four games but still holds a comfortable 5 1/2-game lead over Utah in the Northwest Division with eight to play.

"We just tried to make it hard on him," Nowitzki said. "We contested every shot. If he caught the ball we sent a double-team. He's very aggressive on the low block and we wanted to get the ball out of his hands, make him find their shooters and make them make plays on the weak side. We did a pretty decent job on him overall. He was still pretty aggressive and still got to the basket some."

Dallas has won six of its last seven games against Denver. The Mavs also have won 14 of 15 overall at home.

That's a tough team to play in their building, Miller said. "I thought we played solid for a half. I think our defense kept us in the game. In the second half, they slowed the game down and started knocking down shots so we weren't able to get into our transition game."