Monta Ellis was getting wherever he wanted to go in the fourth quarter. Go under the screen, he would pull up for three. Go over and he had that unstoppable head of steam to get to the paint. As Dallas came back, opening the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run, Ellis went head to head with Tony Parker for the lead.
Parker blinked first, turning the ball over on a few possessions. Dallas celebrated an eight-point lead.
That was a bit early as Patrick Mills and Danny Green drained back to back threes and got Dallas back within two points. Monta Ellis got an inbounds in the back court and tried dribbling out the clock, ultimately throwing the ball downcourt and out of bounds with a second to go. The gaffe nearly cost Dallas as San Antonio got one last heave.
It came after the buzzer and the Mavericks could look forward to Sunday’s Game Seven after a come-from-behind 113-111 on Friday.
San Antonio really lost itself defensively as Ellis began his assault. But Ellis is a different player too and was a lot more patient and in sync with his teammates. Dallas was passing the ball well, especially on the interior. Dallas shot a torrid pace all game, ending better than 50 percent from the floor and well over 50 percent for most of the game.
Ellis led the way with 29 points on 11-for-22 shooting, adding efficiency to his high scoring numbers. Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 and Dallas got another big boost from its reserves.
San Antonio just seemed to struggle. Something was and remains off with the Spurs. Tony Parker had 22 points and just six assists. Tiago Splitter did a good job rolling to the basket and cleaning up on his way to 19 points.
San Antonio probably played well enough to get a regular season win. But these are the Playoffs. And the Mavericks fought for their lives and saved them.