The San Antonio Spurs return home for Wednesday's Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinals series with the Dallas Mavericks tied 2-2.
San Antonio knotted the series with its Texas rival on Monday night with a 93-89 road victory at American Airlines Center. The two squads head back to AT&T Center Wednesday night, a place the Mavericks won Game 2 handily and should've won Game 1.
"In the playoffs, I don't think teams are ever too satisfied with wins, or ever too depressed with losses," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "You just don't have time for it and doesn't do you any good."
In Game 3, Dallas' Vince Carter hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the contest.
On Monday, the Spurs put the clamps on the Mavericks late in the game.
With the game tied at 87-apiece late in the fourth quarter, Boris Diaw nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 32.9 seconds left to give the Spurs the lead.
Monta Ellis missed a trey for the tie at the other end, but Dirk Nowitzki corralled the offensive rebound and put it back in, cutting the deficit to one.
Manu Ginobili then split a pair of free throws with 10.4 seconds left to make it a two-point game.
Coming out of a timeout, Ellis drove the lane and tried banking in the layup to tie, but his attempt clanked off the rim and Tim Duncan grabbed the rebound with 1.9 seconds left. Ginobili hit a pair of free throws to seal it and send the series back to San Antonio all knotted up.
"Boris hit a shot and we couldn't come back at the other end and hit a shot like we should," said Ellis. "I had a good look at the end but it didn't go down."
Ginobili paced the Spurs with 23 points off the bench, while Diaw netted 17 points in a reserve role. Patty Mills chipped in 10 as those three accounted for 50 second-unit points.
"The bench did a fine job in what we've been used to for the season," said Popovich. "It was a big help for us tonight. Holding them to 89 is a lot better than 109 and that's what has to happen."
Duncan tallied 14 points with 10 rebounds and Tiago Splitter notched 10 points with 12 boards in the win. Tony Parker finished with 10, but suffered an ankle injury.
"He has a Grade 1 sprain and he'll be day-to-day," Popovich said of Parker.
Ellis led the Mavs with 20 points despite shooting 6-of-20 from the floor. Nowitzki, who made 7-of-19 attempts from the field, finished with 19 points and Samuel Dalembert pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds in the setback.
One player who Dallas coach Rick Carlisle won't have available for Wednesday night is DeJuan Blair. The big man was suspended for Game 5 by the NBA after an incident in Game 4 when he kicked Splitter in the head while the two were tangled on the floor.
Game 6 will be Friday night in Dallas.