How it happened: The Mavs pulled off a comeback against the best closing team in basketball.
As was the case in the Mavs’ Game 3 win, Monta Ellis went on a clutch scoring flurry. He had 12 of his game-high 29 points in the final five minutes.
Eight of Ellis’ points came in a span of less than two minutes during a 13-2 Dallas run. That spurt gave the Mavs the lead for good, although there was plenty of drama left.
Tony Parker, who led the Spurs with 22 points, kept coming up with big buckets. He had 13 points in the fourth quarter, including layups on three consecutive possessions to pull the Spurs within one point with 49.4 seconds remaining.
After a Dallas timeout, Vince Carter drove against Boris Diaw and drew a foul, knocking down both free throws to push the lead back to three with 32.5 seconds remaining. Devin Harris deflected a Parker pass on the next possession, with DeJuan Blair (10 points, 14 rebounds) coming up with the loose ball and splitting a pair of free throws.
Blair grabbed a a rebound of Kawhi Leonard’s jumper and was fouled again with 23.7 seconds remaining. He split the free throws again and Shawn Marion rebounded the miss. Marion split a pair of free throws, too.
The Spurs gave themselves a shot to pull off a miracle in the final seconds, sandwiching 3-pointers by Danny Green and Patty Mills around two Ellis free throws. Ellis threw the ball away with 1.3 seconds remaining, but he deflected the ensuing inbounds pass. With 0.4 ticks on the clock, the Spurs got the ball to Mills, but he couldn’t get a shot off in time, and launched an airball anyway.
What it means: Game 7 is Sunday. ’Nuff said.
Play of the game: Ellis finished a fast break with an and-1 layup off a Harris dish to stretch the Mavs’ lead to six points with 3:22 remaining. Three Spurs were in the paint as Ellis came flying down the floor, but he slithered through traffic and Manu Ginobili slid his feet as he attempted to draw a charge.
Stat of the night: The Spurs are now 55-2 in games they led entering the fourth quarter this season. Their only other loss in such a game was Jan. 17 at home to the Portland Trail Blazers.