DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands of Mavericks fans pinned their hopes on a lottery last week for the chance to buy an NBA Finals ticket.

But a few dozen people just got in line at the American Airlines Center a few hours before the game Sunday and were able to nab tickets.

The ticket window at the AAC opened at 7 p.m., and if the first buyers were quick, they made it to their seats to see the first points of Game Three, which came just eight minutes later.

The line started forming as early as midnight, and by 2 p.m. was still only about 18 people deep.

Security guards repeatedly told fans there was no guarantee additional tickets would be released, and that waiting was a gamble.

“They said they would start selling tix at 10, then maybe 12, but I talked to Ticketmaster and they said, ‘don’t give up you never know,’” said Patti McMillen, who drove about nine-hours from Rio Hondo for the game.

The McMillens called Ticketmaster every 15 minutes while they waited and about 3 p.m. asked an operator to check the computer one more time, and got an unexpected response.

“I just lucked out and I just got ‘em!” McMillen said. “I’m really stoked”

The rest of the line clung to a few feet of shade along the east wall of the American Airlines Center, until finally a security guard told them to get into single file, and they would get the chance they were waiting for.

The first few buyers, limited to buying four at a time, were walking away with $80 tickets on the 300 level.

Then some seats for as little as $30, described as the top row of the arena, started selling.

When cheap seats were gone, what remained got increasingly expensive.

With only two windows open the line moved slowly, and as the game worked its way into the second quarter, and prices neared $300, the few people left in line gave up.

Ticket sellers told fans that it was possible the same situation would arise before Tuesday night’ss game, but again, there was no guarantee.

Several of the first few people in line were admittedly planning to resell the tickets down the street to last minute buyers who didn’t want to wait in line.

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