In a game that had 18 lead changes and 18 ties, the Dallas Mavericks stun the Spurs with a Vince Carter corner three at the buzzer to give them the one-point win, 109-108.
The Mavs started out hot, jumping to an early 16-8 lead, but the Spurs got comfortable on both the offenseive and defenseive ends as they went on an 8-0 run to tie it up. After having on off night in Game 2, Kawhi Leonard got himself involved by getting 4 steals and 7 points in the first quarter, which already bested his numbers from Wednesday. The Spurs were able to get Boris Diaw some action, as well, hitting a shot from behind the arc, but it was Tony Parker who did most of the damage for the Silver and Black early, scoring 12 points in the quarter. San Antonio lead after the first 12 minutes, 34-27.
The second quarter scoreboard swung in the Mavericks' direction, where they outscored San Antonio by 12. While we got a good look at the Spurs spacing the court and finding open men again, it was Dallas' offense that took control of the game. San Antonio actually played some tough defense, which was a good sign, but couldn't stop Monta Ellis' drives to the basket and a couple of big three's from Shawn Marion. Dallas retook the lead with under 3 minutes to play in the half, and marched into the locker room up 5, 59-54.
Just to be clear, 5 points was equal to the lead the Mavs went into the 2nd half with in Game 2, but the Spurs played a much better game in the first two quarters of Game 3. The Spurs shot 54%, had 13 assists, 5 steals, and no one was in foul trouble. Tony Parker lead the team with 17 points.
Dallas' defense got feisty in the 3rd quarter, eliminating any easy buckets for San Antonio. Monte Ellis was able to knock the ball out of Kawhi's hands on a fast break, and Samuel Dalembert got a big block on an open Diaw bunny shot and a hard foul on a Kawhi dunk that lead to two missed free throws. Manu Ginobili took advantage of the aggressive defense thrown at them, though, and drew a couple of fouls in the paint leading to some points at the line. This tied the game at 69 with under 4 minutes to go, and Patty used the free-throw line to take a one point lead with 3 minutes left. The two teams traded buckets to finish out the quarter, ultimately with the Mavs up 3, 77-74, heading into the fourth.
The final quarter began with an immediate turnover by Dallas on the inbound, leading to a Tony Parker quick bucket. Duncan then got fouled on the next Spurs' possession, leading to two free throws and a one point lead just 30 seconds into the period. While both teams continued to trade blows in the fourth, it became clear that Tony Parker was making some questionable decisions on a few possessions where he was in the paint. He had a couple opportunities to make the aggressive moves he known to make, but chose to pull out or kick out instead. It looked almost too cautious.
Tiago Splitter had quite the offensive performance in the fourth, showing off with a transition dunk, an open look created by Ginobili, and a couple of free throws that took the took the lead back with 4:30 left. It was tied at 95 with 4 minutes to go before Kawhi hit a HUGE three to put the Spurs up. Then, on a possession that looked like San Antonio was playing hot potato with the ball deep into the shot clock, Boris hit a floater as the 24 second clock buzzer sounded to put the Spurs up by 5 with about 2 minutes to go.
The final couple minutes lasted a lifetime. Duncan got a generous reach-in call, which lead to two free throws, but Monta answered back with an and-1 jumper. Ginobili then got a bucket, but it was answered with a couple of Dalembert free throws. It was tied at 104 with 40 seconds left, but Boris was able to hit a buttery baseline jumper to give San Antonio a 2 point lead with 30 seconds to go. After a timeout, it only took 6 seconds for Ellis to drive to the paint and nail a runner to tie it back up. That gave the Spurs the ball with 24.2 seconds left, and after dribbling around for 18 seconds, Manu drove to the rim and hit a tough shot off the glass that seemed to spin around the rim for 7 minutes.
The Mavs had 1.7 seconds to change the outcome of the game, and Vince Carter did just that. With Ginobili in his face, Carter nailed an improbable corner three at the buzzer to give Dallas the win, 109-108.
The Mavericks steal the series lead, 2-1, heading into Game 4 on Monday night. Tim Duncan lead the Spurs with 22 points, while Parker had 19. Splitter recorded 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Kawhi had 17 points and 5 steals.