“Vince really deserves it,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “You always hope that a guy like this can have a moment like this in a big playoff game.”
There was a lot riding on Vince Carter’s last-second shot: the outcome of a playoff game, the series lead and homecourt advantage. That didn’t seem to bother him.
Carter buried a three-pointer at the buzzer on Saturday to give the host Dallas Mavericks a stunning 109-108 victory over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.
“I don’t mind taking the game-winning shot,” said Carter, who scored 11 points. “I don’t mind missing them, and dealing with it. So I think having that mentality helps me.”
Once a high-flying superstar with the Toronto Raptors known as “Air Canada,” the 37-year-old Carter has settled nicely into a reserve role with the Mavericks, where his experience and long-range shooting are assets.
Carter upstaged Argentina’s Manu Ginobili, who had given the Spurs a 108-106 lead with a driving layup with 1.7 seconds left.
After a timeout, Spain’s Jose Calderon zipped a pass to Carter in the left corner. He faked to allow Ginobili to fly by, then drilled his shot as the horn sounded.
The Mavericks blew a 10-point lead in the series opener and lost, their 10th straight setback to the Spurs. But they have turned the tables with consecutive wins and have San Antonio facing a virtual must-win situation in Game 4 at Dallas on Monday.
“They are playing great,” admitted Spurs guard and France native Tony Parker, who scored 19 points. “They are shooting the ball very well, and they are very aggressive.”
Indiana Pacers 91, Atlanta Hawks 88
Paul George scored 24 points, David West added 18 and both made clutch three-pointers down the stretch for the top-seeded Pacers, who reclaimed homecourt advantage and tied their Eastern Conference series at two games apiece.
Oklahoma City Thunder 92, Memphis Grizzlies 89 (OT)
Reggie Jackson scored 13 of his playoff career-high 32 points in the final six minutes as the second-seeded Thunder fought off a furious rally by the seventh-seeded Grizzlies for a road win that evened their West
series at two games each.
Miami Heat 98, Charlotte Bobcats 85
LeBron James had 30 points and 10 rebounds for the second-seeded Heat, who cruised to a road win and
opened a commanding 3-0 lead in their East series. Miami is 18-0 vs. Charlotte since signing James in 2010.
On Friday, Chicago Bulls edged Washington Wizards 100-97 to avoid 0-3 hole, while Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets also posted wins in their playoff matches.