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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 28th (All times Eastern)

(1) San Antonio Spurs (1-2) at (8) Dallas Mavericks (2-1), 9:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs will try to even their series with the Dallas Mavericks Monday night when the two teams collide at American Airlines Arena for Game 4.

The Mavericks took a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal with a dramatic 109-108 home win Saturday.

The venerable Vince Carter nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Mavs the lead in a series they could easily be up 3-0 if not for a major drought at the conclusion of Game 1.

Catching an inbound pass from Jose Calderon on the left sideline, Carter pump- faked Manu Ginobili in the corner and let the shot fly as he fell out of bounds.

After it went in, Carter stomped on the court and was mobbed by teammates. Dirk Nowitzki put him in a headlock. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban rushed to give him a hug.

However, Dallas is already focusing on Game 4.

"I think it's behind us now," Carter said following Sunday's practice. "It was just a great opportunity. I mean, it was just great to come in and everybody was like, 'Hey, man, it still was a great shot.' But once practice started we kind of put that past us and we prepped ourselves for tomorrow, because this is just as big as Game 3."

Carter finished with 11 points on Saturday.

Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 29 points, followed by 18 from Nowitzki. Calderon chipped in 16 and Samuel Dalembert gave Dallas a lift with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Tim Duncan's 22 led the way for the Spurs. Tony Parker netted 19 and Kawhi Leonard finished with 17. Tiago Splitter registered a double-double with 14 points and 13 boards, while Ginobili managed 12.

As focused as the Mavericks are for Game 4, the Spurs were as pragmatic about what happened at the end of Game 3.

"Vince made a shot. Manu guarded him, he did it well and Vince made a shot," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "Give him credit. There was no breakdown or anything like that. Manu was right there and he did everything he could. Vince knocked it down."

Ellis, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter, hit a 3-pointer to give Dallas a lead with 6 1/2 minutes left, then a jumper the next time down the court.

Later, another jumper cut San Antonio's lead to one. Ellis' three-point play after he was fouled on a baseline shot tied the score at 102-102 with 70 seconds remaining.

Boris Diaw knocked down a baseline jumper for the Spurs but Ellis came through for the Mavericks again, tying the game with 24.9 ticks remaining on a one- handed runner.

Ginobili drove around Shawn Marion at the other end and made his go-ahead bank shot over Dalembert.

Then, Carter made his 3-pointer to give Dallas the win.

The Spurs had won 10 in a row over the Mavs prior to the Game 2 loss. Now, they're staring at a very difficult situation, should they lose Game 4 on Monday night.

San Antonio could be the sixth No. 1 seed to lose to an eighth seed in the first round. The Spurs fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in this situation three years ago.

Game 5 will be Wednesday night in San Antonio.

04/28 10:32:17 ET