Don’t look now but it’s the eighth seeded Texas team that has the series lead entering Game 4 in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Carrying the league’s best record after the regular season, the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs will fall into 1-3 deficit in this best-of-seven series if they lose to the Dallas Mavericks for the third time in this match-up.
Thanks to veteran Vince Carter, who hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 3, Dallas stole the 109-108 victory in that game. This was after the Mavericks pulled off the major upset in San Antonio in Game 2 with a 113-92 win last Wednesday.
Carter finished with 11 points but obviously none more important than the last three that gave Dallas the 2-1 series lead. Carter's Game 3 heroics would not have been possible if not for the explosion of Monta Ellis, who had 29 points on 12-of-22 field goal shooting. His point total tied his playoff career high—12 of which came in the final quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki, who appears to have taken the backseat so far in this postseason, warned that his team got lucky in Game 3.
“We stole one,” Nowitzki, who had 18 points and 7 rebounds, said via NBA.COM. "We didn't execute quite as well as we did in the first two, especially the defensive game plan. I think Monta and Vince bailed us out a little bit the last couple of minutes with some great plays."
Samuel Dalembert had 13 points and 10 boards while Jose Calderon ended up with 16 points and 9 assists for Dallas, which trailed by 5 points with less than two minutes to go in the game.
"You have to give them credit, they are playing great. They are shooting the ball very well and they are very aggressive. Right now they are playing with a lot go confidence," said Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who finished with 19 points and 6 assists.
Tim Duncan added 22 points and 3 blocked shots while Tiago Splitter had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the defending Western Conference champions.
Watch Game 4 of the San Antonio-Dallas series via NBA League Pass.