The pass-first point guard elected to shoot the basketball.
"You have to erase your floppy disc and become a shooter," said Kidd, who had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. "I had some great looks that didn't go in, but guys kept telling me to keep shooting."
Nowitzki, the NBA's fourth-leading scorer, was 3-of-13 from the floor and scored 10 points, just two more than his season low.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said after the game Nowitzki played with a temperature of 101 degrees. The Dallas star shrugged it off, saying he had a "head cold," and that his performance had more to do with the Knicks throwing constant double teams at him.
Nowitzki missed his final seven shots.
"When it was winning time, I didn't have a great rhythm shooting the ball," Nowitzki said. "I was able to get some assists when they double-teamed me."
One of Nowitzki's seven assists gave Dallas the lead for good. He found Kidd open for a 24-foot jumper that put the Mavericks on top 87-86 with 5:44 left.
Kidd, who was 6-of-15 shooting, nailed a 3-pointer with 4:11 remaining to put the Mavericks up 93-89.
The Mavericks' point guard hadn't taken that many shots since Dec. 9, a double overtime loss to San Antonio.
"[Kidd] made a couple tough shots there," Nowitzki said. "They basically left him alone all night. He knocked some shots down for us."
The Mavericks have beaten the Knicks nine straight times in Dallas. New York hasn't won on the Mavericks' home court since a 100-93 victory on Dec. 16, 1999, back when Dallas played a couple of miles down the road in Reunion Arena.
Knicks center Eddy Curry, who missed the first 33 games with a knee injury, saw his first action of the season. He entered with 2:42 left in the first quarter and scored on a layup just more than a minute later.
That's was Curry's only shot attempt in 2 1/2 minutes of action. He also grabbed two rebounds.
New York's David Lee had 13 points and 15 rebounds -- his seventh consecutive double-double. Duhon finished 10-of-14 from the field.
"What makes it frustrating is we're playing some pretty good basketball against some of the best teams in the NBA," Lee said. "To come up short, that's frustrating."
Dallas has won five of six, all against losing teams. But the Mavericks had to rally from 29 down to beat Minnesota last week, lost to Memphis on Sunday, and needed a late surge to beat the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
"I hear a lot of people talk about how it would be nice to have some easy games," Carlisle said. "I don't look at it that way. This is the most competitive year from top to bottom I've seen."
Al Harrington converted a three-point play to cut Dallas' lead to 95-94. The Knicks had a chance to take the lead on their next three possessions, but failed on those chances.
Nowitzki hit two free throws to put Dallas ahead by three, and Terry sealed it by hitting a long jumper with 9 seconds left.
The Knicks (6-of-24) shot 25 percent in the fourth. Over the last 2:18, they missed all six of their shots.
"They're playing about as hard as they can play and giving ourselves a chance to win," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We just haven't done it yet."
Duhon, 9-of-9 from the floor in the first half, had 22 points as the Knicks led 59-54 at halftime.
The point guard capped his perfect half with a layup and his fourth 3-pointer of the game to give New York an eight-point edge just before halftime.
Duhon's first miss came when Erick Dampier blocked his layup attempt with 8:40 left in the third.
Knicks G Nate Robinson, 1-for-9 from 3-point range Thursday, is 3-of-30 from long distance in his past five games. ... The Mavericks have won 12 of their last 14 home games. ... D'Antoni received a technical for arguing a foul call with 10:56 left.