The eighth-seeded Mavericks bounced back from consecutive losses by handing the Spurs their first road defeat when leading after three quarters this season.
Tony Parker scored 22 to lead the heavily favored Spurs, who are stuck in a tossup series after they won all four games against Dallas during the regular season.
San Antonio took a nine-game winning streak against the Texas rival into the sixth postseason meeting between the teams, but now the second Game 7 between these teams is Sunday in San Antonio. The Mavericks won the other one there in 2006.
The Mavericks kept the series alive on the same floor where Vince Carter had given them a 2-1 series lead and sent the crowd into hysterics with an improbable winning 3-pointer.
Fans were standing the entire fourth quarter this time, when the Mavericks trailed by five points to start the final 12 minutes before a 14-2 run for an eight-point lead. Parker got the Spurs close again and had a duel of driving layups with Ellis in the final 2 minutes.
Parker, who had 13 of his points in the fourth and added six assists, spun through the lane before shoveling one up over Nowitzki with his left hand to get the Spurs within 106-105.
The Mavericks pushed the lead back to six before the Spurs made it interesting again with 3-pointers from Danny Green and Patty Mills. It wasn’t over until a shot by Mills on an inbound play with 0.4 seconds left was ruled to have been late. It was short anyway.
Dallas’ DeJuan Blair had 10 points and 14 rebounds after missing Game 5 against his former team when he was suspended for kicking Tiago Splitter in the head.
Both teams had six players in double figures, with Splitter making 11 of 12 free throws for a playoff career-high 19 points. Danny Green had 17, matching his total for the first five games of the series combined, and Tim Duncan had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Carter finished with 13, and Jose Calderon had 12 points and six assists.
The Mavericks, with a revamped backcourt led by Ellis and Calderon, had to work hard to get back in the playoffs and haven’t won a postseason series since beating Miami for the title in 2011. They didn’t clinch until the second-to-last game and settled for the West’s lowest seed after losing to Memphis in overtime to finish the regular season.
The Spurs coasted into the playoffs with a league-best record of 62-20 after losing to Miami in seven games in the NBA Finals last year. But now they’re being pushed to the limit in the West playoffs for the first time since the second round in 2008, when they beat New Orleans before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the conference finals.
NOTES: The Spurs were 25-0 on the road when leading after three quarters before this game. They’re now 55-2 for the season. ... The Mavericks had seven turnovers in the second quarter, and the sloppy stretch helped the Spurs cut an 11-point deficit to two at 41-39. Dallas had seven more turnovers in the third, when a six-point lead turned into a five-point deficit. ... Mavericks C Brandan Wright did not play for the first time in the series after playing a series-high 26 minutes in Game 5 when Dallas’ pick-and-roll defense was shredded.
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