Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 2:15 to play to put the Mavericks up 79-72 after the teams had traded the lead most of the fourth quarter. Jimmy Butler missed two 3-pointers in the final 12 seconds as the Bulls tried to rally.
Butler was limited to four points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field, one night after scoring a career-high 53 in a victory at Philadelphia.
Chicago's Joakim Noah left the game after separating his left shoulder with just under 10 minutes to play in the second quarter. Noah was in obvious pain after tangling with the Mavericks' JaVale McGee under the basket. Noah had been playing in his fourth game after returning from a nine-game absence because of an injury to the same shoulder.
Chicago led most of the first half, but Dallas used a 15-2 run in the third quarter to catch up and the game was close from there.
Mavericks: Nowitzki played in his 1,303rd career game to move into a tie for 15th place on the NBA's career list with Elvin Hayes. Next on the list is Buck Williams at 1,307. Nowitzki is one of just 17 NBA players to have played in 1,300 or more games.
Bulls: Rose returned to the lineup after sitting out Thursday night in a win over Philadelphia. ... Kirk Hinrich left the game with a left quad bruise and didn't return. The Bulls had scored over 100 in their previous 13 games, the team's longest streak of 100-plus point games since the 1991-92 season.
Bulls: At Detroit on Monday.
Mavericks: Visit San Antonio on Sunday.