Dallas Mavericks 113, San Antonio Spurs 111—Series tied, 3-3
Dallas came back in the fourth quarter Friday and withstood a last-second charge to hold off San Antonio and force a Game 7.
The fourth quarter was a largely a battle between guards Tony Parker (13 points) and Monta Ellis (12 points), who dueled back and forth with tough drives to the rim.
Ellis gave Dallas the lead for good with a three-pointer at the 4:57 mark, but the Spurs didn't make it easy, contesting the Mavericks every step of the way. A ton of credit should go to this veteran Dallas team for not wilting under the late-game pressure from the No. 1 seed.
Vince Carter led all scorers with 28 points for the Mavericks.
Dallas set the tone early by outscoring the Spurs 34-26 in the opening quarter that featured a magnificent display of offensive basketball. Both teams shot 55.6 percent from the field, but the Mavericks kept the lead thanks to committing three fewer turnovers.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked between quarters what the biggest problem was, and he curtly replied, "34 points."
San Antonio managed to hold Dallas to 10 fewer points in the second quarter, but still went into the half trailing, 58-52. Dirk Nowitzki had 12 points in the half for Dallas and Danny Green matched him with 12 for San Antonio.
The Spurs did take the lead in the third quarter thanks to their frontcourt of Tim Duncan (8 points), Kawhi Leonard (5 points) and Tiago Splitter (6 points), but Dallas eventually regained control.
Former Spur DeJuan Blair was particularly good in his return from a Game 5 suspension. Blair posted a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, undoubtedly stinging Spurs fans who saw him underwhelm during his time in San Antonio.
Tim Duncan, Spurs: 16 PTS, 9 REB
Tony Parker, Spurs: 22 PTS, 6 AST
Manu Ginobili, Spurs: 6 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: 22 PTS, 5 REB
Monta Ellis, Mavericks: 29 PTS, 2 AST
The series will head back to San Antonio for Game 7 on Sunday. The time and network broadcast have yet to be determined.
Throw out the seedings, because this has been a street fight from the opening tip of Game 1. These are two smart, veteran teams coached by two of the best in the business in Popovich and Rick Carlisle.
It will be hard to pick against the Spurs at home, but few people predicted the series to last this long, anyway. Dallas still has an excellent chance of moving on to Round 2.