Vince Carter buried a shot that Mavericks fans will remember for the rest of their lives, helping Dallas take a 2-1 series lead over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs with a 109-108 victory.
Here are my thoughts on one of the most memorable games played at American Airlines Center.
1.) What a phenomenal series. It’s far from over, but the eighth-seeded Mavericks have to love where they’re at. One of the biggest reasons for optimism is that although Dirk Nowitzki turns 36 this summer, he didn’t look his age in Game 3. The Dirk from the 2011 playoffs showed up on a few occasions and that alone gives the Mavericks a chance against any opponent. Nowitzki finished with 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting.
"We’re competing," Nowitzki said. "It might not always be pretty, but we’re playing hard. â¦ To me, they’re still the heavy favorite, but they know we’re here to play."
2.) It’s obvious that the Mavs are going to need the Monta Ellis we’ve seen the last two games. After being held to 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting in Game 1, Ellis scored 21 on Wednesday and 29 on Saturday. Ellis is maybe the biggest reason the Mavs have a good shot in this series. They’re at their best when he’s attacking like he did in Game 3.
3.) Containing the Big Three. After combining for 65 points in Game 1, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili went for 50 in Game 2 and 53 in Game 3. Apparently, keeping them under 65 is the key. Easier said than done, but it’s certainly possible.
"You have to give them credit," Parker said. "They are playing great. They are shooting the ball very well, and they are very aggressive. Right now, they are playing with a lot of confidence."
4.) There would’ve been no championship in 2011 without the contributions of Tyson Chandler. Samuel Dalembert wasn’t Chandler in Game 3 but he was pretty darn impressive. He had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks Saturday, easily his best game of the series. Can the Mavericks expect to get this kind of production from Dalembert going forward? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Nowitzki on Dalembert: "I always say that when he’s active and rebounds, he’s hyping up the crowd, when he’s into the game, where a good team."
5.) You couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere. The Mavericks needed an energetic American Airlines Center crowd and they got one. I had my doubts walking around the concourse about an hour before tipoff, but the packed house did their job throughout. Loudest moments: After Shawn Marion hit back-to-back 3s late in the first half, Devin Harris’ alley-oop to Brandan Wright late in the third, Harris’ 3 with 9:05 to play to put the Mavs up 85-82 and when Ellis buried his And-1 baseline jumper and tied the score with 1:10 to play. Oh, and there was this triple from the corner that Vince Carter hit at the buzzer. I don’t think the building can get any louder than it was after that shot went in.
"Just another day at the office," Carter joked while sitting at his locker.