Jason Terry hustled as he saw the loose ball rolling toward midcourt. In the final minute of a three-point game, first one to the ball could score the bucket that made the difference in the outcome.
Terry pounced and had an uncontested breakaway dunk, and another Dallas win was in the record book.
"That one possession signified what that game meant to us," Terry said.
Terry scored 30 points, Jason Kidd had a triple-double, and the Mavericks won their seventh straight game, 101-93 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.
Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points for the Mavericks, who have won a whopping 17 of 18 games that shot them into second place in the Western Conference.
"Shoot the ball, share the ball," Nowitzki said.
Sounds like a simple formula, one the Mavs have perfected during this sizzling stretch. Terry used near-flawless shooting over the second and third quarters to give the Mavs the lead, then sealed the win late in the fourth with the big hustling dunk where he waved his arms in celebration.
Kidd had 13 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds and no turnovers for the 107th triple-double of his career.
"We just keep coming, wave after wave," Kidd said.
The Sixers gave the Mavericks all they could handle as they tried to move two games above .500 for the first time this season. Jodie Meeks led the Sixers with 16 points.
Coach Doug Collins called this game a test for the playoffs because the Mavs were the type of talented team, like the Heat, the seventh-place Sixers could face in a first-round series.
They went the distance, but couldn't match Terry, Kidd and Co. and their four-game winning streak was snapped.
"We played toe-to-toe with one of the best, one of the hottest teams in the league," Collins said. "I'm proud of them for that. Our guys are doing this for the first time. They've been at it for a while, they've been here a lot of times. That showed tonight."
When the Sixers closed within one with 3:56 left, Terry -- who else? -- hit another jumper that made him 12 of 16 from the floor. He was open on the next possession, but dished to Kidd for a 3 and a 92-88 lead.
The Sixers showed the competitive drive that helped them make the rare turnaround from 10 games under .500 to a winning record when Meeks' 3 made it 92-91.
That was as close as they'd get. Meeks missed a driving baseline layup and Terry recovered for the breakaway dunk that sealed the win. He waved his arms in celebration, high-fiving teammates after the highlight-reel play.
The Sixers flopped in the waning moments from the free throw line and made only 14 of 24 overall.
Andre Iguodala scored 15 points and Jrue Holiday had 14 for the Sixers.
Dallas' enthusiasm waned when center Tyson Chandler left late in the first half with a sprained right ankle.
Chandler, averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, grabbed his right ankle after he collapsed to the court trying to block a shot. He briefly stood and grabbed his knee before going back down. Chandler limped off the court and headed straight to the locker room.
Shawn Marion had 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the Mavericks win the battle between two of the best benches in the league. Brendan Haywood scored seven points and will likely start for Chandler on Friday against Indiana.
Dallas' Rick Carlisle had no update on Chandler's injury.
For a spell, the Sixers looked every bit as dangerous as they did last month in their 77-71 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who have the best record in the NBA.
They refused to let the Mavericks take them out of the game with a serious run. When Terry went 5 for 5 for 11 points in the third, the Sixers scored their own big buckets to keep pace.
Nowitzki fumbled the ball and Iguodala recovered, bursting all the way for a one-handed jam that tied it 69-all. Speights' driving dunk off another Dallas turnover knotted the game at 77.
But there's a reason the Mavericks are a serious threat to win it all.
Led by Terry, they wore down the scrappy Sixers and had too much experienced talent in the fourth to let the Sixers take the lead.
"Good teams can crank it down on you late, and that's what they did to us tonight," Collins said.
Nowitzki and Terry shot a combined 22 of 33 from the floor.
Terry had the hot touch from the start with an 11-point second quarter that helped Dallas take a 51-44 lead into halftime.
"I haven't seen him in a zone like that in a long time," Nowitzki said. "He showed us the whole package tonight. It was fun to watch."
Notes: Kidd had his second triple-double of the season and is third on the NBA's career list. ... Each coach was honored before the game by the NBA. Collins was named Eastern Conference coach of the month and Carlisle earned Western Conference honors for February.