San Antonio tried everything — including putting six players on the floor for the final shot and the referees not noticing — but in the end there was too much Monta Ellis.
Ellis had 12 fourth-quarter points (eight of them during a key 14-2 run) plus deflected the inbounds pass on the attempted 6-on-5 final shot attempt to help spark a come-from-behind Mavericks win 113-111 at home. That forces a Game 7 Sunday in San Antonio.
As has been the case for most of the games in this series, this one was thrilling and down to the wire.
San Antonio led going into the fourth quarter (they were 55-1 when leading going into the fourth quarter this season) and had the lead up to seven at one point. It was all classic Spurs, balanced scoring, sharing the basketball, and getting role players to step up — Tiago Splitter had 19 points and played good defense most of the night. Tony Parker had 22 points on the night but needed 23 shots to do it. That said he made some huge layups late.
Dallas made its comeback starting midway through the fourth and took lead on Ellis three where Manu Ginobili got hung up on a Dirk Nowitzki screen and couldn’t recover, part of an 9-0 run for Dallas in middle in fourth.
Ellis kept making plays — drawing and-1 on cut to basket in transition that ended with a swooping lay-up. He had another bucket on a big drive and floater. The run extended to 14-2.
But the Spurs would not quit. Do not quit.
Tony Parker almost single-handedly led a comeback to win the game, scoring 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the final frame. They had one final chance down 2 with 1.3 seconds left when the Spurs had six players out on the court and the referee didn’t notice (that should have been a technical foul on San Antonio). Fortunately for everyone, Ellis knocked the ball out of bounds (it was him that threw the ball out of bounds to give the Spurs a chance in the first place) and a referee error did not change the course of this game.
The Spurs offense did its part, scoring 30 points in the fourth.
But as was the real culprit all night long for San Antonio, their defense couldn’t get stops. The Mavericks shot 57 percent in the fourth quarter, 51.7 percent for the game. We could nit-pick as to why Gregg Popovich didn’t move Kawhi Leonard off Vince Carter onto Monta Ellis at the end, but everyone on Dallas was killing the Spurs.
To go with Ellis’ 29, Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and four others were in double figures.
Parker had 22 for the Spurs but Tiago Splitter with 19 points and 8 boards may have been their second best player. Tim Duncan had 16 points and 9 rebounds.
San Antonio gets Game 7 on their home court and I expect to see better defense out of them. More Spurs like defense. But in a Game 7 anything can happen — especially when Dallas will bring Nowitzki and Ellis to the court.