The Mavericks survived a 3-point attempt by Ryan Anderson just before the buzzer to capture their second game in as many nights. New Orleans had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Jrue Holliday's shot from beyond the arc provided New Orleans with the last of its points with 1:32 to play and forged a 97-97 tie.
Nowitzki then made 1-of-2 from the foul line with 32 seconds left to put Dallas back in front.
Both Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Gordon missed jumpers for the Pelicans before Nowitzki grabbed a rebound and was fouled. His two free throws with eight seconds to go lifted Dallas in front by three.
Holliday led New Orleans with 26 points, hitting 10-of-17 from the field.