How it happened: A phenomenal game came down the final few seconds. The difference was Dallas got the ball last.
Mavs sixth man Vince Carter hit a fadeaway 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to give the Mavs the win. That came 1.7 seconds after Spurs sixth man Manu Ginobili hit a high-degree-of-difficulty, go-ahead lefty runner.
This was a beautiful basketball game during which two of the league’s best offensive teams traded buckets and runs for 48 fascinating minutes.
Dallas guard Monta Ellis was sensational, especially down the stretch. He scored a game-high 29 points and twice made driving buckets to tie the game in the final few minutes. He was one of six Mavs to score in double figures.
Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
And a couple of key Dallas role players delivered by far their best performances of this postseason. Point guard Jose Calderon had 16 points and nine assists. Center Samuel Dalembert had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while battling Tim Duncan, who led the Spurs for 22 points.
There were 18 ties and 18 lead changes in a wild West shootout reminiscent of the classic 2006 West semifinals between these two teams. It came down to Carter’s last shot in the corner.
What it means: The miracle Mavs have a 2-1 lead against a San Antonio team that entered the series with a nine-game winning streak in the Interstate 35 rivalry. The Spurs, who were eliminated by the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011 playoffs, are in jeopardy of becoming the first franchise to twice lose in the first round as a No. 1 seed. Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas.
Play of the game: Carter caught the ball with 1.7 seconds remaining, pump-faked to get Ginobili to leave his feet and drilled a corner 3 at the buzzer. Ballgame.
Stat of the day: Nowitzki was held to fewer than 20 points in three straight playoff games for the first time since the first three games of the 2001 West semifinals against the Spurs.