NBA Playoffs: Carter, Mavs beat Spurs at buzzer

NBA Playoffs: Carter, Mavs beat Spurs at buzzer
April 26, 2014, 11:30 pm
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Vince Carter hit a buzzer-beater to give the Mavericks a 109-108 win over the Spurs on Saturday. (USA Today Images)

DALLAS -- Vince Carter knew right away the exact date of the last time he had a buzzer-beating try in a playoff game - 13 years ago.

It's seared in the memory of the 16-year veteran because he missed that one. He was on target Saturday.

Carter hit a double-pump 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Dallas Mavericks a 109-108 victory in Game 3 and a first-round series lead over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

With 1.7 seconds left, Carter took an inbound pass from Jose Calderon in the left corner. After a quick pump fake got Manu Ginobili in the air - moments after the Argentine guard had given the Spurs the lead - Carter released the ball just in time.

He strutted stone-faced toward Dirk Nowitzki, who was waving his arms wildly as he jumped on Carter. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban joined the celebration on the court before the automatic review confirmed the obvious: The shot was good.

And it's one Carter said he practiced.

"May 20th, Game 7," said Carter, referring to an 88-87 loss to Philadelphia in the 2001 Eastern Conference finals when he was he was the dunking sensation known as "Vinsanity" with Toronto. Carter had graduated from North Carolina earlier that day before flying on a private plane to Philadelphia.

"I don't mind taking the game-winning shot," said Carter, who otherwise had a rough day before finishing with 11 points. "I don't mind missing them, and dealing with it. So I think having that mentality helps me."

Monta Ellis kept the eighth-seeded Mavericks close in the fourth quarter and finished with 29 points.

Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 22 points.

Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas. (See full recap.)

Pacers even up series with Hawks
ATLANTA -- The Indiana Pacers knew what they were up against. This was a game they had to have.

Paul George and David West made sure they got it.

George and West hit key 3-pointers down the closing minutes, and top-seeded Indiana held off the Atlanta Hawks 91-88 to even the opening-round series at two wins apiece Saturday.

Finally, the Pacers showed some grit and resilience, regaining the home-court edge that slipped away when they were stunned by the No. 8-seeded Hawks in Game 1.

"We were just in desperation mode," West said. "You just can't go down two games in a playoff series. The odds are against you."

George put the Pacers ahead 86-85 with a jumper beyond the arc, and West hit another trey with 1:33 remaining. (See full recap.)

Heat take 3-0 lead over Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James stripped the ball at midcourt, raced the length of the floor and lifted off for a powerful one-handed dunk.

Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, seated on the Charlotte bench, could only look on helplessly.

James was taking over and the Miami Heat, well, they were starting to look like the Miami Heat of the past two seasons. Unlike the first two games of the series, James made sure this game wouldn't be close.

James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heat easily defeated the Bobcats 98-85 Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first round. Dwyane Wade added 17 points for the Heat, who can close out the best-of-seven series Monday night.

"We were locked in on what needs to be done and our keys to win this game," James said.

James went 10 of 18 from the field and pushed his record to 18-0 against the Bobcats since joining the Heat in 2010. Miami has won 19 straight overall against Charlotte. (See full recap.)