Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - After losing the previous game on a buzzer- beater, the San Antonio Spurs locked down on defense in the final minute on Monday to tie their Western Conference quarterfinal series with a 93-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Manu Ginobili paced the Spurs with 23 points off the bench and hit some clutch free throws down the stretch to preserve the win in Game 4.
"The bench did a fine job in what we've been use to for the season," said Spurs coach Gregg 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."
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.
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 (Diaw) 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."
Diaw netted 17 points in a reserve role, Duncan tallied 14 points with 10 rebounds and Tiago Splitter notched 10 points with 12 boards in the win.
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.
Game 5 is set for Wednesday in San Antonio.
Nowitzki scored five points during a 12-2 run to open the game for Dallas. The Spurs slowly chipped away at the deficit, with Ginobili hitting back-to-back buckets to cut it to 19-16 with just over a minute left in the first.
Brandan Wright's putback layup late in the stanza gave the Mavs a 23-18 lead after one.
San Antonio turned up the defensive intensity in the second, holding Dallas to just four points over the first 7:46 of the quarter.
The Spurs, meanwhile, built a 39-27 lead following a Ginobili 3-pointer with just over 4 1/2 minutes left until halftime.
Ellis cut the deficit to eight, 44-36, with 2:41 remaining, but Dallas would not score from there. San Antonio outscored the hosts, 32-13, in the second and brought a 50-36 lead into the break.
The Spurs stretched the lead to 20, 58-38, on Parker's bank shot with over nine minutes left in the third.
Ellis and Jose Calderon highlighted a 14-2 run, with Calderon's 3 trimming the deficit to 60-52 at 5:10.
Diaw made a jumper with under two minutes left to push the margin back to 12 for San Antonio, but Nowitzki canned two jumpers to make it an eight- point spread heading to the fourth.
Jae Crowder's layup capped a 12-4 quarter-opening run from the Mavs that tied the game at 77-77 with 6 1/2 minutes left.
DeJuan Blair, who scored 12 points with 11 rebounds off the bench, made a layup to give the Mavs an 81-80 lead with under five to play.
Blair was ejected with 3:08 left in the fourth after kicking Splitter in the head after the two were tangled up on the floor.
Ginobili made the technical free throw and Splitter nailed both of his attempts from the line to put San Antonio in front, 85-83 with 3:08 left.
San Antonio shot 36-for-79 from the field ... Dallas made 32-of-84 attempts from the floor ... The Mavs scored 16 points off 15 Spurs turnovers ... San Antonio outscored Dallas, 46-28, in the paint.