Vince Carter: The Mavericks' modest hero of Game 3

Mavs vs. Spurs - Game 3

Credit: Kevin Jaira / USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter celebrates with teammate Dirk Nowitzki after Carter hit the game-winning shot in an NBA Playoffs game against the San Antonio Spurs on April 26, 2014.

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on April 26, 2014 at 11:32 PM

DALLAS — Vince Carter's game-winning shot Saturday was one for the ages. He was told by Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle during the last huddle that he would be the go-to guy in the team's 1.7-second bid to beat the Spurs.

“Yeah, he said, 'You just be ready, and you’re going to make the shot,'” the Mavs' forward said. “They kept taking a lot of time trying to figure out how they were going to guard Monta [Ellis] coming up, so we figured it might not be there.”

“For our second and third options, we wanted to make sure we were ready,” Carter added. “That’s what he said to me; he said, 'You’re going to get the ball and knock it down.' I said, 'Okay, no problem.'"

“Vince really deserves it,” Carlisle said. “He's been so good for us, and he's been about so many of the right things that you always hope that guy like this can have a moment like this in a big playoff game.”

“When you're in that corner, you don't have much room, so you always stay on your toes,” Carter said. “It’s just trusting in routine and technique, and it worked out.”

“Vince did a great job of gathering himself, understanding the clock, got a head fake," Mavericks guard Monta Ellis said. "He went for it... knocked the shot down... and we came out with a win.”

To set up Carter's heroic day, Dallas had to erase a five-point deficit in the final 2:11 of regulation.

“We survived it,” Carlisle said. “It was not looking good with a minute or two minutes to go down five, but the guys hung in and made a big play at the end.”

During that stretch, Ellis scored seven points. He had 12 points in the final quarter to propel Dallas to victory over top-seeded San Antonio.

“I've got a great group of guys who believe in me and who are backing me,” Ellis said. “We're all tied into this thing. The points may look like it was me, but it was a total team effort.”

It was a team effort that had the Mavericks celebrating for now.

“Believe me, after film, that high is going to come down anyway because [Coach Carlisle will] point out things we need to work on, and why did we put ourselves in that position anyway?” Carter said.

Dallas now has a 2-1 lead in a series that the oddsmakers had made the Spurs a heavy favorite.

Game 4 is coming up Monday night in Dallas.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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