DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Vince Carter hit a double-pump 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Dallas Mavericks a 109-108 victory in Game 3 and a first-round series lead over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
Carter took an inbound pass from Jose Calderon with 1.7 seconds left in the left corner. After a quick pump fake in front of Manu Ginobili, Carter released the ball just before the buzzer. The winning shot was held up on review.
Though the played was designed with a streaking Monta Ellis as the primary option, head coach Rick Carlisle had a feeling the ball would end up in the hands of his veteran guard.
Carter recalled their huddle conversation after the game.
“[Carlisle] said, ‘You’re gonna get the ball and you’re gonna knock it down.’ I said, OK — no problem.”
Ginobili had given the Spurs a 108-106 lead on a layup before Dallas called timeout to set up the play for Carter.
“Great shot,” said Ginobli after the game. “He created some space by going to the corner. He used a fake that got me into the air and he hit a good shot when you have an opponent like that.”
Monta Ellis kept the eight-seeded Mavericks close in the fourth quarter and finished with 29 points.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 22 points.
Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas.
Ginobili, who scored 12 points, dribbled out most of the last 24 seconds before going around Duncan and scoring over Samuel Dalembert. His go-ahead shot spun around the rim and almost came out before falling in.
The Mavericks kept the home-court advantage they earned by taking Game 2 in San Antonio, even though the Spurs held Dirk Nowitzki under 20 points in a third straight playoff game for the first time since they did it to him in his first postseason in 2001. The big German finished with 18.
Dallas still had a chance in the closing seconds because of Ellis, who had a playoff career high that included 12 fourth-quarter points. He tied the score twice in the final 1:10, first with a three-point play on a floater after he was fouled by Boris Diaw.
“I think it was a total team effort,” said Ellis. “I just read through the pick and roll, took what the defense gave me, and was able to knock down some shots.”
After Diaw put the Spurs back in front with a baseline jumper, Ellis hit another high floater in the lane with 24.9 seconds left, setting up Ginobili’s dramatic shot.
Tony Parker had 19 points, but just two after halftime for the Spurs. Tiago Splitter had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard awoke from a series-long slumber with 17 points, including a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Dalembert did most of his damage in the first half but still made his presence felt in the third quarter and finished 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The 32-year-old journeyman center dove for a loose ball to get the crowd on its feet, and then knocked Leonard to the floor when the San Antonio forward was driving for a dunk. After the play, he shook his head as if to say “don’t bring that in here.”
Referees originally called Dalembert for a flagrant foul, but reversed it on replay. Leonard missed both free throws.
Calderon had 16 points, including 10 during a fast Dallas start in the first quarter. He also had nine assists.
“That is the kind of basketball I think fans like to see and that basketball lovers love,” said Calderon. “And, we enjoy playing these kind of games.”
Parker finished the first quarter with 12 on 6-of-8 shooting and fueled a run that put the Spurs up 34-27 going to the second.
Dalembert put the Mavericks back in front by catching a pass from Calderon on the run and scoring for a 50-49 lead. Then Ellis hit a 3-pointer after a cross-court pass from Shawn Marion, who followed with back-to-back 3s.
NOTES: Marion went to Chicago immediately after Dallas’ Game 2 win in San Antonio for the birth of his first child, a boy. He celebrated a little early with 20 points against the Spurs, the most for him in the playoffs since the 2011 NBA Finals. … Dalembert had nine points and nine rebounds in the first half.
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