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With time winding down in the third quarter, Jameer Nelson beat O.J. Mayo to a loose ball at half-court and had a wide open lane to the basket for a layup. But Nelson elected to pass the ball to J.J. Redick, who was darting to the rim on the right-hand side of the court.
However, Mayo hustled back in transition and blocked Redick’s layup attempt. The ball bounced on the rim a few times, which allowed Mayo time to recover and grab the rebound from Nelson.
Mayo raced down the court, triggering a fast break for the Dallas Mavericks just seconds after the Orlando Magic had a 2-on-1 fast break. Mayo crossed the half-court line and threw an alley-oop pass to Vince Carter for a dunk that woke up a quiet crowd at American Airlines Center — shades of “Vinsanity.”
It was a game-defining play.
Instead of the Magic, who had stormed back from a 16-point deficit thanks to their defense, extending their lead to 81-73, it was a four-point swing for the Mavericks and they now trailed only by four points (79-75) with 1:48 remaining in the quarter.
After Carter’s alley-oop dunk, he followed that up with two three-pointers on Dallas’ next three possessions. The second three-pointer allowed the Mavericks to retake the lead at 83-82 before the end of the period. It was a lead Dallas would never relinquish again, as they dominated the fourth quarter and put Orlando away for good.
And in the final period, Nelson had to leave the game with a left knee injury after fighting for a loose ball with Darren Collison.
It was not a good night for the Magic, who put up a valiant effort but were soundly defeated — their 26th loss in the last 29 games.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Even though his stat line wasn’t that impressive, Carter was unquestionably the difference maker for the Mavericks. He made several momentum-changing plays late in the third quarter that turned the tide back in Dallas’ favor after they coughed up a 16-point lead.
Trailing 79-73 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, Mayo’s chase-down block on Redick and alley-oop pass to Carter for a dunk on the other end changed the complexion of the game. The Mavericks would retake the lead shortly thereafter.
That Was … the Coup de Grâce
In the middle of a 21-2 fourth quarter run, Carter stole Andrew Nicholson’s outlet pass and dished off a behind-the-back pass to Shawn Marion for a layup. A highlight-reel play that served as the proverbial icing on the cake for Dallas.