Once again, a 24-point lead wasn't enough for Toronto against Dallas.
Nowitzki hit four straight 3-pointers in the final 1:41 of the third quarter, when the Mavericks went ahead to stay on their way to a 105-99 victory Tuesday night. It was their largest comeback ever to win a game in regulation.
"Dirk's stretch is what really put the game away for us," Harris said.
Only after Harris keyed a 12-0 run right before halftime that cut the deficit in half.
"Devin came in and got us going. We really picked up our energy when he came in," Nowitzki said. "We were kind of sleepwalking."
The first of Nowitzki's clutch 3-pointers tied it at 70, then he made another and another. Those three long-range shots came within a minute of each other, and Nowitzki made the last with 1.4 seconds left in the third quarter for a 79-72 lead.
Those were his only 3-pointers in the game, all on passes from Jason Terry.
"Jet kept looking for me on the screen-roll," said Nowitzki, who came in shooting only 26 percent from long range. "I've been struggling with the 3-ball and when I got the first to go down, I got my confidence going."
That was part of a bigger stretch for Nowitzki. And a long way from the game's opening minutes, when after a 10-0 run by Toronto, coach Avery Johnson benched the reigning NBA MVP and a couple of other starters because of their defensive struggles.
Nowitzki scored 18 of his season-high 32 points in the third quarter, when the Mavs outscored Toronto 38-17. It was their highest-scoring quarter this season and erased a 14-point halftime deficit.
After driving for a layup with 2:48 left in the third to get Dallas within 68-65, he followed a Toronto miss with the assist on Trenton Hassell's 17-foot jumper. Then Nowitzki did the rest on his own, pushing the Mavericks in the lead for good.
"He stepped up and played better," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "We did a lot of good things, but we just couldn't hold it together."
Dallas also overcame a 24-point deficit against Toronto in February 2006, but won that game in overtime. The Raptors have never blown a bigger lead to lose, and now they've done it twice against Dallas.
"We were supposed to do a lot better job of trapping Jason Terry and making that kickback pass a little tougher to Dirk," Chris Bosh said.
T.J. Ford, who played at the University of Texas, had 13 points but didn't play the last 16 minutes because of a stinger sustained when he took a knee to the chest trying to draw a charge against Josh Howard.
"Josh exploded into me and I took the full hit," Ford said. "It's not that serious. ... There's a pain and a tingling feeling in my left arm. It's calmed down right now. We'll see how it responds [Wednesday]."
Harris and Terry had 19 points for Dallas, and Josh Howard added 15 points and nine rebounds. Terry made a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
Toronto led 49-25 with 5:58 left in the first half after consecutive jumpers by Jose Calderon, but Harris keyed a 12-0 run for the Mavericks when Nowitzki wasn't in the game.
On the first shot after a timeout, Harris hit a 19-footer. After a bad pass by Bosh led to a 3-pointer by Harris, the Mavs point guard grabbed a defensive rebound and them made a free throw. Another turnover by Bosh led to Juwan Howard's jumper, but Harris wasn't finished.
"They just jumped on Devin Harris' back," Bosh said.
Harris drove for a layup after another Toronto miss, then made two free throws after being fouled on a shot in traffic to get the Mavs within 12.
"That little spark in the second quarter, knocking the lead down the way that we did before halftime, really got us going in the third quarter," Harris said. "We kept chipping away. Obviously, we knew we would back a run. It's nothing new for us."
The largest Mavericks comeback came in November 1994 when they overcame a 25-point deficit to win at Denver 124-123 in overtime. ... F Devean George (left foot stress fracture), who hasn't played this season, could practice Sunday for Dallas. .. Toronto F Jorge Garbajosa was inactive after team medical personnel saw something "unusual" on an MRI of his left leg, the one he broke last season. Garbajosa has missed three of the Raptors' last four games.