DALLAS MAVERICKS vs SAN ANTONIO SPURS Game 3 Recap
Mavericks lead series 2-1
Fighting back-and-forth like the in-state, Southwest-Division rivals that they are, Vince Carter came through with what most people would call the biggest home-playoff bucket in recent memory as his 3-point shot from the left corner over Manu Ginobili at the buzzer gave the Dallas Mavericks a 109-108 Game 3 win and a 2-1 lead in this first-round best-of seven series with the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs.
The two teams combined to make their final six baskets (including free throws), and Ginobili banked in a layup over Samuel Dalembert, the ball seemingly rounding the basket and nearly popping out, with 1.7 seconds left to give the Spurs the late lead.
After some time to set up a play, both offensively (Dallas) and defensively (San Antonio), the officials spent a little more time trying to figure something out, something I’m still not sure of. It almost seemed as if they were helping the Spurs “ice” the Dallas shooters, which of course didn’t work out.
With Jose Calderon inbounding the ball over Cory Joseph, who was appearing in the game for the first time, the first-year Maverick point guard was able to find Carter, who was being hounded by Ginobili. A quick turn to the corner and a pump from Carter, getting Ginobili in the air, swished the ball in for the dramatic clincher just as the red light was coming on.
It put American Airlines Center and the entire Maverick fan base into a frenzy, giving Dallas its second-straight win in the series, a long series history in which the Spurs had won 10 in a row.
Entering Game 3, Dirk Nowitzki was averaging 13.5 points on 33 percent. In Game 3, Nowitzki had an efficient 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and added seven boards, three assists and two steals.
Monta Ellis set a playoff-career-high with 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting, leading five players in double figures. Calderon added 16 while Dalembert contributed 13, 10 rebounds and a game-high four blocks.
Just as the first two games, Dallas came out flat in the first quarter which led to a 34-27 deficit after one, but staying with the script, Dallas found its rhythm in the second which led to its third-halftime lead in the series.
The Mavericks trailed 47-41, but finished the final 5:30 of the half on an 18-7 run to take a five-point lead going into the break.
Dallas continued to lead in the third, but went scoreless for three minutes which allowed the Spurs to get back in it and take a 70-69 lead with three minutes left in the quarter.
Tim Duncan also led five players in double figures for the Spurs with 22 points. Tony Parker scored 12 of his 19 in the opening quarter while Tiago Splitter had a good game with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three dimes. Coming off a horrible Game 2 effort, Kawhi Leonard rebounded to finish with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, five boards, five steals and three assists.
The two went back-and-forth before Dallas scored the final four points to take a 77-74 lead after three.
San Antonio regained the lead after scoring the first four in the fourth and from there, the teams traded blows with no one leading by more than three points until Boris Diaw‘s jumper put the Spurs up five with 2:12 left.
Including the buzzer beater, there were 10 lead changes and 12 ties in the final 12 minutes.
Dallas grabs the series lead and looks to go up 3-1 as the two tangle at the AAC again for Game 4 on April 28, which tips off at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
KEY X-FACTORS: Calderon and Dalembert both had their best games of the playoffs. Calderon spaced the floor well and knocked down his shots, also dishing out a game-high nine assists. After scoring just 12 points in Game 2, all of which came in the decisive third quarter, Calderon was able to find the basket and act like the floor general Mark Cuban brought him to Big D for. Calderon helped pace the Mavs in the first quarter with 10 points. In the first two games, Calderon had scored just 19 points on eight fields goals and seven dimes. The Spaniard had seven field goals in Game 3, going 2-of-3 from behind the arc. As much as Calderon has struggled to begin the playoffs, Dalembert has seen his share of struggles to begin, but was able to not only get his best game of the series, but also one of his best games of the entire season. After entering the night with six points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, Dalembert showed the toughness and hustle that we were accustomed to seeing in every big Mavericks’ win. He finished with 13 points, 10 boards and four blocks. It was his first playoff double-double since 2008 and seventh overall.
VINSANITY: After missing his first two attempts from downtown, there’s no question that Carter’s first 3-point make was the biggest of the game. Carter, who has the seventh-most 3-pointers in NBA history, is 37-years-old and becomes the oldest player with a buzzer-beater in the postseason in 15 years. No doubt, there’s still some gas left in Carter’s tank.
HAVE IT ALL: Ellis, in his 18th-career playoff game, dropped his sixth-most points in his first year with Dallas. Ellis did his usual thing in the fourth, scoring 12 points in the final 6:35, and was able to knock down a couple of threes and get his array of drives to the basket. After scoring 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting in Game 1, Ellis is averaging 25 points, three assists and 1.5 steals on 47.6 percent shooting, including 4-of-11 from three in the last two games.