So after Dirk Nowitzki pumped in a season-best 40 points in the fourth game in five nights, it was fair to ask one question:

Does he feel all of his 35 years right now?

“I feel 45,” he deadpanned.

Somehow, you get the feeling that even when he’s 45 or 55, Nowitzki is going to be capable of doing something like he did in the second half of the Mavericks’ strange 110-107 victory over New Orleans on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

Strange? Absolutely. When the Mavericks shoot 11.8 percent in the first quarter, yet still end up with 110 points, it’s an odd night — punctuated by a controversial officiating call at the end.

And yet, it was vintage Nowitzki, who had 20 points in the third quarter when the Mavericks desperately needed a jolt.

“It looked in the first half like the fourth game in five nights for both teams,” Nowitzki said. “So we figured it was going to be a grind-out game. And the next thing you know, the basket just opened up on both sides. Then all of the sudden, we couldn’t get any stops. We gave up 70 points in the second half, so that was terrible.”

So what happened at halftime to get Nowitzki going?

“I figured somebody’s got to get going in here,” he said. “We shot, like, 9 percent in the first quarter.”

Nowitzki’s second half helped the Mavericks go up by 11 points in the third quarter. But they found themselves in a tight game down the stretch and trailed 99-97 with under four minutes to play.

With Brandan Wright contributing two of his three steals, the Mavericks scored nine quick points to go up 106-99. But the Pelicans, who were blown out by the Mavericks on Friday in New Orleans, rallied within a point in the final 18 seconds. Nowitzki and Jose Calderon made two free throws to put the Mavericks up, 110-107, with nine seconds to go.

New Orleans pushed the ball up the court, and Austin Rivers tried to get off a tying 3-pointer, but was stripped by Monta Ellis. The Pelicans howled that a foul should have been called.

“That’s just not right,” coach Monty Williams said. “If we stop it with 0.5 on the clock, and Monta Ellis’ arm is across Austin’s — both his arms for a 3-point shot, it’s hard to swallow that kind of no-call in a game like that, especially when Dirk gets the same call on the right side in the first half. That’s a tough one.”

It’s the second time in the last couple of weeks that the Mavericks have had a non-whistle go their way. On Dec. 30, Kevin Love was hacked in the corner, but no foul was called. The league came out the following day and said it should have been a foul.

Even Ellis said that if he had been on the shot-attempting end of that play, he would have been mad with a no-call, too.

“If I was going up to shoot the ball, yeah, but to me, it was just trying to put the game in the referee’s hands,” he said.

None of that could overshadow Nowitzki’s stellar game.

The Mavericks had a miserable start Saturday night in their second game against New Orleans in 24 hours. They missed their first nine shots and 13 of their first 14. So they had to feel pretty good about being only five points down at the time.

By the third quarter, when Nowitzki poured in 15 points during a six-minute stretch, the Mavericks had bounced back.