DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — Dirk Nowitzki calls it the loudest he’s ever heard the American Airlines Center.
Fans and players alike erupted on Saturday night when Vince Carter’s buzzer beating corner three went down, sending the Mavs to a 109-108 win and a 2-1 series lead.
There’s no greater high than what the Mavs experienced in Game 3. There’s no bigger game than Monday’s Game 4.
“We can’t have any let down or hangover because we got a big shot and got a big win,” said coach Rick Carlisle at the Mavs shoot-around on Sunday.
Carlisle had a similar message on Saturday, hours before the Mavs and Spurs battled in Game 3.
“It’s one of the real challenges of the playoffs,” said Carlisle. “Because the highs of winning become a form of adversity. The lows of losing get teams really wired to play.”
While the Mavs overcame this “adversity” on Saturday, doing so again after such an emotional finish is a different task.
“We definitely don’t want to get comfortable now,” said Nowitzki on Sunday. “Yeah it was a big win, but if we lose [on Monday], we’re tied going into their place with two home games for them. We want to keep the same mentality we’ve had this whole time and play hard.”
Saturday’s hero Carter believes Sunday’s day off gave the Mavs an extra day to refocus and forget about Saturday’s finish.
He’s also confident that coach Carlisle will do his part to bring his veteran team back down to earth.
“Believe me, after film, that high is going to come down anyways because he’s definitely going to point out things that we need to work on — why did we put ourselves in that position anyway. We have a veteran team that understands — great win, big win for us — but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Before Dallas’ game 2 win, the Spurs had won 10 straight games in the series — leading many to label Dallas as the overwhelming underdogs. But with an opportunity to open up a 3-1 series lead on Monday night, the Mavs are no longer in that role.
“We always got to play like we’re down. It seems like all season long we never played well with leads, we never played well coming off an emotional win,” said Nowitzki Sunday. “We almost always play better when we’re coming from behind or when we lost a tough game…We had an emotional win. We got to back it up tomorrow.”
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