Vince Carter hit a three at the buzzer to give the Dallas Mavericks a stunning 109-108 Game 3 victory over the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Center on Saturday. The Mavs now have a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 looming on Monday.
Manu Ginobili appeared to win it for the Spurs when he buried a runner with 1.7 seconds left, but that was just enough time for Carter to play the hero:
The fourth quarter went back and forth, with the margin never getting higher than three either way for most of the frame. The Spurs finally broke the lead open to five with just over two minutes left after a clutch three by Kawhi Leonard and a floater from Boris Diaw to go along with some big defensive stops.
But the Mavs came right back, with Monta Ellis knocking down consecutive big shots to erase the deficit. After a Ginobili layup put the Spurs back up two, Samuel Dalembert tied the game again with two free throws. San Antonio retook the lead on a Boris Diaw jumper, only to see Ellis come up with another huge bucket. Ginobili then looked like he would be the hero before Carter stole the limelight.
Ellis led the Mavs with a playoff career-high 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting, with 12 of those points coming in the fourth quarter. Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points and seven rebounds, while Carter finished with 11 points off the bench. Dallas shot 51.2 percent and made 9-of-23 from three-point range.
Tim Duncan had 22 points to lead San Antonio. Tony Parker had 19 points, but only two of those came in the second half. The Spurs lost despite shooting 54.3 percent from the field.
After a blowout victory in Game 2, the Mavs came out on fire, racing out to a quick 16-8 lead. Then Parker got going, bringing the Spurs back with 12 first-quarter points. Leonard helped with the surge, and San Antonio led 34-27 after one.
The Spurs' offense kept rolling throughout the outset of the second quarter, and they went up by as many as nine. But the Mavs never backed down, staying within striking distance before finishing the half on a high note. Dallas went on an 18-7 run to go up 59-54 at the break, buoyed by three straight three-pointers.
Dallas went up by seven points early in the second half and held a lead throughout the majority of third quarter. However, San Antonio pushed back, with Ginobili waking up after not scoring a single point in the first half. Ginobili poured in eight points as the Spurs got back in the game, but the Mavs finished the quarter strong and led by three heading to the final frame, which proved to be wild.