Jerry Stackhouse's problems from the foul line made the Mavericks sweat out their Game 3 win over the Spurs.
The Mavericks' turn. They bring the ball upcourt and take a timeout with 17.0 seconds remaining. The playcall -- possibly not Avery Johnson's first choice -- is a bizarre one. Stackhouse isolates on Ginobili and pulls up for a 19-footer just inside the top of the key. But with all the defensive attention on the ball, Nowitzki exploits a problem with using Bowen on him defensively -- Bowen is a very poor defensive rebounder even when he isn't giving up five inches, as he does to Nowitzki. With Parker making little effort to help out (he's boxing out air instead), Nowitzki establishes inside position, corrals the rebound and is fouled going back up. He makes both free throws. Score: 104-103, Dallas
There are 7.9 seconds left when the Spurs take over. Barry inbounds from the right hash mark. Parker is nowhere to be found, replaced by Michael Finley in the game so San Antonio would have the best three-point shooting lineup possible. The Spurs run Horry off a Ginobili downscreen and have him come to the ball, but Stackhouse does a good job defensively of contesting the pass. (ABC commentator Hubie Brown argues that Horry did not work hard enough to get the ball.) Rather than risk a turnover or move the play farther away from the basket than desired, the Spurs take their final timeout, of the 20-second variety.
Again, Barry inbounds. This time, a better Ginobili screen frees up Horry, who catches beyond the three-point line just to the right of the top of the key. Ginobili curls back up into a dribble handoff from Horry, dribbling right, but Harris makes the defensive play of his career, getting his right hand ever so slightly on the ball, which bounces off Ginobili's right thigh and into the Dallas half of the court. It rolls out-of-bounds before Ginobili can pick it up (which would have been a backcourt violation anyway), and the Mavericks take possession with 2.5 seconds left on the clock.
But Harris might never have been in position to make the game-saving strip had the play been run as it appears it was intended. After inbounding, Barry darted through the gap between Horry and Ginobili and then came back as if to set a screen for Ginobili, which would have forced Harris out of the play. Did the timing fall apart at some point?