Four-Pointer: Previewing Mavs vs. Spurs, Game 4

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After a thrilling victory in Game 3, can the Mavericks continue to limit the Spurs' role players?

Sports are a drug. The elation of Vince Carter's buzzer beating three-pointer in Game 3 is testament to that. Sure, sports are an escape. Professionally, they are played by millionaires who are paid by billionaires. We can't relate to such circumstances. Yet, we are here, watching, waiting. Our next high is seconds away. Our comedown is always around the corner. In a silly way, it unites us. It brings out our humanity. It isn't the healthiest drug but which drug is? Enjoy the ride, it's worth every second.

On to the Four-Pointer:

Can we forget Game 3?

Game 3 was one of those once-in-a-lifetime games. It was epic. But, we have to put it on the back-burner. Game 4 is already upon us.

The Mavericks have a lot of work to do. San Antonio learned from their Game 2 collapse and came out determined. They held multiple leads and were poised to win the game. Luckily, the Spurs have yet to completely solve the Mavs' schemes. Chalk that up to Rick Carlisle. His coaching has been superb. I don't want to take anything away from Gregg Popovich, he is the Coach of the Year after all, but Carlisle has grasped the tiniest hold and scaled every summit. There isn't a better series. Game 4 is likely going to be another one for the ages.

Dirk?

Monta Ellis finally broke out in Game 3. He was getting to the rim and connecting on his mid-range jumpers on his way to a playoff career high 29 points. That's what the team needs from him. Ellis must continue to be this assertive. He can't do it alone, though.

Dirk Nowitzki had a good game on Saturday. He scored 18 points on 7-13 shooting. It was a good showing but this was Monta's game until Vince won it. Dirk was just a contributor. In a way, this is the role he is building to for the future. He's 35. His time to graze in green pastures hasn't come yet, has it?

Holger Geschwinder flew in to work on Dirk's shot. He has been in Dallas on and off throughout the season. Dirk needs him. The Mavs need him. Think of Holger like Linus' blanket. He's attached to Dirk at the hip. The hip being an off-leg fadeaway jump shot in this case.

Dallas needs a Dirk game. San Antonio just won't let him have one. Popovich is too good. He's not Scott Brooks. Dirk is due and we will keep saying that until he has a big game. As much as we don't want to admit, there is a strong possibility that he doesn't have a big game. This is a glimpse into the future. In the future, Dirk is ancillary.

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan and sometimes Manu Ginobili because he likes to troll Mavs fans?

Let them get theirs. Let them score all the points. That's been the plan all along. I'm cool with it. You cool with it? Good. Great. Let's move on.

Role players

While San Antonio's stars have shined, their role players have made the difference. They simply haven't shown up. Of course, this is by design. Rick Carlisle is like the Rakim of basketball right now, deep concentration because he's no comedian. He is taking the Spurs' three-point shooters out of the equation. It's stunning.

Meanwhile, this series has been dominated by Mavs role players. Devin Harris, Ellis (a star in his own right), Jose Calderon, and, in Game 3, Samuel Dalembert have played well. Really well. They have been the difference.

Let's talk about Shane Larkin, though. He's played minimal minutes but that's not what matters. Did you see him in Game 3? Did you? He runs baseline onto the court to hug Vince after that game-winning three. GO watch that play again. Then watch it 100 more times. If it wasn't for Ginobili (DAMMIT, GINOBILI!), he would have gotten there before Dirk, who was in the game. That's hustle, folks. It's also heart. Do you, Shane. Do you, Mavs role players.

*          *          *

Okay, I can't forget about Game 3 either. Pizzadactyl blessed that Vince three. Just imagine watching that shot in slow motion to the following music. Amazing.

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