Denver was within 99-96 after a 3-pointer and dunk from Dallas native Darrell Arthur, who had nine of his 11 points in the second half.
But Nowitzki hit back-to-back fadeaway jumpers and Brandan Wright and Shawn Marion took turns feeding each other for baskets, the last one Marion’s dunk for a 109-99 lead with 4 minutes to go.
Wright, a 6-foot-10 center, had all three of his assists in a 4-minute stretch of the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points. Marion scored 14 as the Mavericks had seven players in double figures.
Ellis took over from there, helping clinch a winning season after a 12-year run of winning records ended with a 41-41 mark last season.
“I’ve been watching him since I was in high school,” Lawson said. “When he makes a shot, he gets hot. He got a 3, got a 2 and got to the rim.”
Hickson helped keep Denver close with 10 second-half points and was four shy of his season high against the Mavericks in November before going out.
“Jae’s stint out there was big for us,” Carlisle said. “We were able to get scoring and defense while Vince was getting fixed up.”
NOTES: The teams combined to go 25 of 52 from 3-point range. The Nuggets had 13 from long range and the Mavericks had 12. The season high is 15 for both teams. … Nuggets C Kenneth Faried got a technical in the third quarter after colliding with Jose Calderon and knocking the Dallas guard to the floor. … The Mavericks recalled G Gal Mekel from the Texas Legends of the D-League. He’s played 31 games for Dallas and four games for the affiliate. The 26-year-old rookie from Israel missed nearly two months with a knee injury.