DALLAS -- The Atlanta Hawks recovered from one of their worst defensive efforts of the season with one of their best.
Joe Johnson scored 31 points and the Hawks limited the Mavericks to 19 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter as Atlanta ended a streak of five winless trips to Dallas with an 80-75 victory on Saturday night.
Atlanta had dropped four of its previous six including a 114-107 home loss to New York on Friday night when the Knicks shot 58 percent from the field.
"It was a big bounce back," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "[Friday] night we definitely had nothing going for us as a defense. We talked about it over breakfast."
Johnson had eight points and four rebounds in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we showed a lot of guts coming off a tough back-to-back to come in against a team as good as Dallas and win," Johnson said.
Atlanta was clinging to a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter when the Hawks scored eight straight points, capped by Jamal Crawford's 16-footer, for a 74-65 advantage with 7:28 to play.
The Hawks turned up the defense down the stretch, forcing the Mavericks into eight straight missed field goals until Nowitzki's layup with 3:22 left pulled Dallas to 76-73.
Dallas narrowed the gap to 78-75 with 40.4 seconds remaining on Terry's two free throws, and the Mavericks had a chance to get closer after Atlanta's Mike Bibby missed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining.
The Mavericks tried to get Nowitzki open for a 3-pointer, but Nowitzki committed a turnover when he kicked the ball with 9.8 seconds to play.
The Mavericks thought they'd forced a turnover on Atlanta's next possession. Al Horford of the Hawks caught an inbounds pass, then dribbled the ball off his foot. The ball rolled into the backcourt where Horford regained possession, but referees did not call a backcourt violation.
"It appeared on the replay Horford dribbled off his foot and recovered in the backcourt," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was a call missed."
Johnson's two free throws with 1.5 seconds left iced the game for the Hawks.
Dallas was coming off a 98-82 loss at Memphis on Friday night, shooting a season-worst 35 percent from the floor. The Mavericks had 16 turnovers and went 25-for-67 from the field against the Hawks.
"We just couldn't find any way to get through their defense," Terry said. "They're long and athletic. They kept us out of the paint."
The Hawks were the fresher of the two teams in the early going, connecting on 12 of their first 22 field-goal attempts for a 27-19 edge heading into the second period.
Atlanta led by 13 in the second quarter, but the Mavericks closed with a 13-1 run over the final 7:19 of the first half as Dallas reduced the deficit to 41-40 at the break.
The Hawks went through a stretch of 10:28 in the second and third quarters without a field goal, missing 20 straight shots before a Johnson put-back pulled the Hawks within 48-45.
Johnson scored the final two baskets of the third quarter, the second with 3.2 seconds left, and Atlanta carried a 64-60 lead into the final quarter.
Dallas won 11 of the previous 12 home meetings with Atlanta. ... Terry, who was drafted 10th overall by Atlanta in 1999 and played five seasons for the Hawks, started for the first time this season, giving the Mavericks their seventh different starting five. ... Mavericks G Quinton Ross missed his seventh straight game with tightness in his lower back. ... The Hawks went 1-for-6 from the free throw line and shot 5-for-25 from the floor in the second quarter. ... Atlanta held a 20-4 first-half advantage in points in the paint.