Dallas Mavericks try to stave off elimination and force Game 7

rick carlisle After taking a 2-1 lead over the Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks lost Game 4 and 5 by a slim margin as San Antonio regained a 3-2 series lead in their first-round best-of-seven match up.

Vince Carter knocked down a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 3, but the Spurs came right back in Game 4 and defeated the Mavs 93-89 on April 28.

The Spurs went up as much as 20 points in the third quarter of Game 4 in Dallas. The Mavericks got off to a hot start, 12-2 in the opening quarter, but struggled until midway through the third.

San Antonio outscored the Mavs 32-13 in the second quarter and went up 58-38 with 9:18 left in the third.

That’s when Dallas got into a groove.

For the next 15 minutes, Dallas would go on a 33-13 run to tie the game at 71.

Dallas went up 83-82 before DeJuan Blair was called for his fifth foul against Tiago Splitter. Blair inadvertently kicked Splitter in the head and was immediately called for a flagrant 1 foul. The officials went to the replay and confirmed the flagrant, which also meant it was Blair’s sixth, ejecting him from the game. The NBA suspended Blair the next day for Game 5 in San Antonio.

With the Spurs up 91-89, Monta Ellis drove to the basket and tried to tie it, but missed a floater over Tim Duncan that just rimmed out.

The Mavericks and Spurs returned to the AT&T Center for Game 5 on April 30 and once again, the Spurs went up double-digits before a Mavs’ comeback.

Dallas never led, but did tie it up at 42. The Mavs would go down double figures again, and only got as close as 98-94 late in the final quarter.

After averaging 16 points on 39 percent shooting in the first four games, Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting and added 15 rebounds.

Carter turned back the clock with a game-high 28 while Ellis added 21.

The trio combined for 75 points, but the rest of the team scored just 28 as the Spurs came away with a 109-103 win.

Tony Parker had a team-high 23 points.

Two good things about the Mavs in Game 6. One, they return home where they fed off the crowd in their two-home games in this series. They stuck around before Carter’s trey in Game 3 and fed off the crowd in Game 4, erasing the 20-point deficit.

The final thing is that Nowitzki’s hot finish should translate in Game 6. He has scored more points in each ensuing game (11, 16, 18, 19, 26).

Game 6 will be at the American Airlines Center on May 2, which is set to tip at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. If the Mavs can force a Game 7, they’ll play May 4 back in San Antonio.