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2014 Playoffs Game 3: Mavs vs. Spurs presented-by-bbva-2 Subscribe via RSS

Spurs vs. Mavericks: Game 3

Vince Carter hit a double-pump 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 109-108 victory in Game 3 and a series lead over the Spurs.

DALLAS — Some moments are created. Others are made.

After stealing away the home-court advantage from the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs with a Game 2 rout, the Dallas Mavericks returned to American Airlines Center with an opportunity to seize control of the first-round series.

Looking to build on Wednesday’s 113-92 victory in San Antonio to even the series at a win apiece, the Mavericks attempted to carry the momentum into Saturday’s pivotal third matchup. And after ending their 10-game losing streak at the hands of the Spurs, the Mavs tried to treat their hometown fans to a show.

Exchanging haymakers with the top-seeded Spurs for the better part of 48 minutes, the Mavericks then proved to be ready to make the moment their own, seizing a 2-1 series lead on sixth man Vince Carter’s game-winning 3-pointer to finish off a 109-108 victory.

“This is momentum for us,” Carter said after playing the hero role in Game 3. “You know, that just means the next game is going to be tougher. They’re going to come at us with everything, and we can’t get comfortable.”

Playing in front of a blue-out capacity crowd, the Mavericks looked to get off to a fast start against the team with the NBA’s best road record during the regular season. Point guard Jose Calderon did his part to make sure the Mavs did just that, engineering the Dallas offense to perfection as the home team jumped out to an early advantage.

But, after seeing his team fall down by eight, Spurs big man Tim Duncan would begin to have his way inside. Tony Parker then came alive as well, boosting the Spurs’ attack. And despite Calderon’s attempt to match Parker in the opening period, the Mavs found themselves on the downside of a 34-27 score after 12 minutes of play.

Leaning on their scoring duo of 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and starting 2-guard Monta Ellis, the Mavs began to creep back into the game in the second stanza. Meanwhile, center Samuel Dalembert provided a presence inside, running the floor and scoring in transition to put the Mavs back in front at 50-49.

“Sam was real active,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said with high praise for Dalembert’s energy level, “and he just has got to keep doing what he is doing.  When his activity is like this, he’s rebounding it and he’s got a presence at the rim, it makes such a big difference for us. We need him to do that.”

Back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Ellis and four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion would quickly follow to keep the Spurs at bay, boosting the home team into the intermission with a 59-54 advantage.

Led by Ellis’ 13 first-half points on 5-of-12 shooting and Calderon’s 12 points on 5-of-6 from the field, the Mavs held the slight edge on the scoreboard through two quarters while overcoming Parker’s 17 points to lead the Spurs. However, the Spurs’ 55.6 percent shooting as a team bettered the Mavericks’ 53.2 percent while the two squads battled to a 20-20 rebounding stalemate.

With Dalembert continuing to control the interior and Calderon finding success on the perimeter, the Mavs held the upper hand early in the third quarter. Still, the Mavericks couldn’t create a substantial separation on the scoreboard before the Spurs’ bench brought the visiting team back into the game before regaining the lead.

The Mavs’ reserves responded, however, powering a late rally to take a 77-74 lead into the fourth.

After Parker began the last period with a steal and score, the Spurs quickly went back on top behind a 2-for-2 trip to the foul line by Duncan. But Carter would settle his team down, attacking the rim to get to the charity stripe himself as Dallas reached the bonus with 9:37 remaining.

The spark from the bench continued when reserve guard Devin Harris found nothing but the bottom of the net on a 3-pointer from the wing, putting the Mavericks up 85-82 with 9:05 left to play. But, after a trey by Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard immediately tied the game up, San Antonio regained the momentum and an 89-87 edge as Manu Ginobili found center Tiago Splitter inside for a two-handed dunk with 7:10 remaining.

But Ellis would try to provide an answer for the Mavericks, finishing off stellar ball movement with a 3-pointer from the top of the key before a mid-range jumper the next time down the floor. A pair of free throws by Splitter with 4:42 on the clock put the Spurs up 95-94, though. And after Nowitzki split a pair at the line to tie the game, Leonard’s triple gave the Spurs a 98-95 lead with 3:49 left for the Mavs to respond.

The deficit grew to five from there for the Mavericks as Spurs big man Boris Diaw drained a floater in the lane to put the visiting team up 100-95 with 2:11 remaining. But Nowitzki quickly responded with two free throws before Ellis made it a one-point game on a jumper with 1:37 left to close. Ellis didn’t stop there, answering a pair at the foul line by Duncan with a three-point play to tie the game at 102-all with 1:10 remaining.

Ginobili immediately put the Spurs back in front at the other end, but Dalembert’s two free throws would again knot the game. That’s when Diaw tried to intervene, connecting on a jumper before Carlisle called for a timeout with his team down two and 29.1 ticks left to even things back up.

Carlisle drew up a play for Ellis to attack, leading to the cat-quick guard’s running layup to tie the game once more with 24.2 seconds still on the clock. But the Spurs would again remain calm before retaking the lead on Ginobili’s attacking drive with 1.7 seconds left, leading to another timeout by Carlisle.

This time the coach threw a wrinkle San Antonio’s way, working Ellis in one direction before Calderon found Carter in the opposite corner on the inbound pass. And after the eight-time All-Star pumped to get Ginobili in the air, Carter calmly connected on a 3-pointer as time expired to send the Mavericks off their home floor with a win.

“[Carlisle] saw how they were playing and he expected them to play that way, and he told Vince Carter that when he came off he was going to be wide open in that corner,” Ellis said of the discussion in the huddle during that crucial sequence. “He told him that he was going to knock it down, and Vince did a great job of gathering himself and understanding the shot clock. He did a head fake, [Ginobili] went for it and he knocked the shot down as we came out with a win.”

“[Carlisle] said, ‘You just be ready. It’s going to be there and you’re going to knock down this shot,’” Carter added. “We were just looking for options and it kept taking a lot of time. I was trying to figure out how they were going to guard Monta coming up, so we figured it might not be there and our second and third options we wanted to make sure we were ready. And that’s what he said. He said, ‘Hey, you’re going to get the ball and you’re going to knock it down.’ I said, ‘OK, no problem.’”

Scoring 12 of his 29 points in fourth quarter to finish off a 12-of-22 shooting performance, Ellis led five Mavericks in double figures. Nowitzki added 18 points, collecting seven rebounds to boot. Meanwhile, Calderon finished with 16 points and Dalembert recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Including the game-winner, Carter also pitched in 11 points off the bench.

“We’re all tied into this thing.  The points may look like it was me, but it was a total team effort,” Ellis modestly said. “Even when we got down, we stuck together as a team, got defensive stops that we needed and came down on the other end and scored when we had to.”

“Today, everybody was great and that’s why we got the chance at the end,” Calderon added. “We were like five points down with under two minutes, I think, and we kept fighting to the end. Yeah, it was a last-second shot, but we’ll take it. I’m proud for my teammates.”

Duncan led five Spurs in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The Spurs also outshot the Mavs on the night, 54.3 percent to 51.2 percent, adding a 36-35 rebounding edge. But the Mavericks finished with a 50-38 advantage in the paint, overcoming the 16 points they allowed off 17 turnovers by forcing 15 San Antonio giveaways.

“You know, we survived it,” Carlisle concluded. “It was not looking good with two minutes to go, down five, but the guys hung in. We got the ball in the basket a couple of times and made a big play at the end.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center for Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Spurs on Monday night. The Mavs lead the series 2-1. Game 4 will air nationally on TNT and locally on TXA 21 at 8:30 p.m. CT.

The series schedule is as follows:

Game 4: San Antonio at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. CT on TNT and TXA 21, Monday, April 28
Game 5 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Wednesday, April 30
Game 6 (if necessary): San Antonio at Dallas CT, TBD, Friday, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Sunday, May 4

Single-game tickets for the first two Mavs home games of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs are on sale now. Tickets are available at the American Airlines Center box office, online at or by calling (214) 747-MAVS. There is an eight-ticket limit per game.

Dallas Mavericks
Shawn Marion, F348-102-42-2325230021120
Dirk Nowitzki, F347-191-11-1055121121216
Samuel Dalembert, C161-20-02-24370011044
Monta Ellis, G338-201-44-412333011921
Jose Calderon, G285-101-41-1000500121112
Devin Harris247-92-32-2044511241218
Vince Carter223-61-11-210120011198
Brandan Wright82-20-00-00111000244
DeJuan Blair143-60-02-234704003138
Jae Crowder161-40-10-01010000292
Wayne Ellington30-20-20-000000000-10
Shane Larkin20-20-10-00000000010
Bernard James20-00-00-01010000010
Ricky Ledo00-00-00-00000000000
Gal Mekel00-00-00-00000000000
45-928-2115-1614213519133719 113
San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard, F221-51-23-541500023-66
Tim Duncan, F294-50-03-416710211-1511
Tiago Splitter, C272-50-02-223530021-26
Danny Green, G222-52-50-002220121-86
Tony Parker, G255-100-22-502230033-1012
Manu Ginobili229-125-64-720240062-527
Boris Diaw172-20-00-000000021-214
Marco Belinelli293-71-10-005510023-317
Patty Mills161-71-42-201101013-105
Jeff Ayres60-00-00-000020011-30
Cory Joseph81-20-02-40221000084
Matt Bonner52-20-00-000000000-14
Austin Daye50-20-00-001100000-10
Aron Baynes00-00-00-00000000000
Damion James00-00-00-00000000000
32-6410-2018-299233217132219 92

Postgame: Vince Carter

Dallas' Vince Carter talks with the media after his buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 3.

Postgame: Shawn Marion

Mavs F Shawn Marion dishes on Vince Carter's game-winning shot, not getting too excited after taking a 2-1 series lead and more.

Mark Cuban on the win

Mark Cuban talks to's Lonnie Franklin III about Saturday's thrilling win over the Spurs.

Postgame: Rick Carlisle

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle talks with the media after the Mavericks stopped the Spurs with a buzzer-beater in Game 3.

Postgame: Monta Ellis

Dallas' Monta Ellis talks with the media after the Mavericks won Game 3 against the Spurs.

Ellis And-one

Monta Ellis drives, takes the contact and makes the fall-away jumper late in regulation.

Vince Saves the Day

Vince Carter wins Game 3 with an amazing clutch corner triple to put the Mavericks up 2-1 in the series over the Spurs.

Monta’s Two Hand Flush

Monta Ellis takes the hand-off from Dirk Nowitzki and flies down the baseline with the easy two hand flush.

Points in Transition

Dirk Nowitzki collects the loose ball and outlets to Jose Calderon for the nice layup.

Dalembert Denies Diaw

Samuel Dalembert pins Boris Diaw against the glass and Monta Ellis finishes on the other end with the smooth layup.

Ellis’ Sick Euro Finish

Monta Ellis abuses the defense with the sick eurostep and makes an incredible circus bucket and-one.

Dalembert And-one

Jose Calderon feeds Samuel Dalembert inside for the basket plus the foul.

DALLAS — It’s been far too long since the last time the Dallas Mavericks hosted a playoff game.

It’s been even longer since the last time the Mavericks defeated the San Antonio Spurs on the American Airlines Center floor.

Still flying high after capturing Game 2 of their first-round playoff series on the road Wednesday night with a 113-92 victory to return home with a 1-1 split, the Mavs will now have a pivotal opportunity to pull ahead with a win in their own backyard. But, with the Dallas organization set to host a playoff game Saturday for the first time since falling to a 103-97 series-clinching Game 4 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma City back on May 5, 2012, the stakes will once again be high as the Spurs enter the Mavericks’ unfriendly confines. 

“You know, it’s a monumental task but we’re in this thing to win,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confidently confessed following his team’s Game 2 victory over the top-seeded Spurs.

He added: “You know, we’re not in it just to get a split and feel happy. We can’t do that. I mean, we cannot let up. And going back home, this is where we’ve got to avoid any kind of letup, going back to our building.”

Capitalize off San Antonio’s 24 turnovers and converting the miscues into 33 points at the other end, the Mavericks seized control of the series Wednesday night while routing the Spurs in their own gym to end a 10-game losing streak against their in-state rivals. However, the Mavs haven’t beaten the Spurs at home since a 106-99 victory back on March 17, 2012, setting the stage for more fireworks as the series shifts to Dallas.

And with the visiting San Antonio squad out for revenge, the Mavericks will face a tall older against the team that finished with the NBA’s best road record during the regular season at 30-11.

“I’m little worried going home,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki admitted. “I’d rather play Game 3 (in San Antonio), I guess. We’ve got to figure it out at home. We can’t relax, and that’s the main thing.”

“We have to play like we’re down,” starting 2-guard Monta Ellis added. “We’ve got to go back home in front of our home crowd, but we can’t lay an egg. We’ve got to stay the course. The series is not over. We’ve got to take it game by game when we go home, we’ve got to stick with the same game plan and trust that it works, and hopefully we can hit some shots and come out with a win.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center Saturday for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series as the scene shifts to Dallas. The series is tied at 1-1. Game 2 will air nationally on TNT and locally on TXA 21 at 3:30 p.m. CT.

The series schedule is as follows:

Game 3: San Antonio at Dallas, 3:30 p.m. CT on TNT and TXA 21, Saturday, April 26
Game 4: San Antonio at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. CT on TNT and TXA 21, Monday, April 28
Game 5 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Wednesday, April 30
Game 6 (if necessary): San Antonio at Dallas CT, TBD, Friday, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Sunday, May 4

Single-game tickets for the first two Mavs home games of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs are on sale now. Tickets are available at the American Airlines Center box office, online at or by calling (214) 747-MAVS. There is an eight-ticket limit per game.