The San Antonio Spurs attempted to be the first road team to credit the mysterious “Sixth Man” for a win. Trailing by as many as eight points with only minutes remaining game 6 of the San Antonio Spurs vs Dallas Mavericks first round playoff matchup ended in spectacular fashion. After a pair of clutch threes by Green and Mills along with several missed free throws by the Mavericks’ Blair a once assured victory was left in doubt.
Accepting the inbounds pass up two with only a few seconds in regulation Monte Ellis tried to run out the clock avoiding intentional fouls by the San Antonio Spurs. After racing around for a couple seconds Monte Ellis decided to chuck the ball in the air hoping to drain the last digits off the clock; however, instead of floating in the air for the final 3 seconds the balls flew out of bounds giving possession back the San Antonio with 1.3 seconds.
This is when the visiting San Antonio called upon the “Sixth Man” to help them eliminate the home team. Only, he wasn’t in the stands, but on the Spurs’ own bench. Coach Gregg Popovich sent in Boris Diaw to throw the inbounds pass; however, none of the other Spurs currently on the floor decided to go the bench. Staying on the court were Duncan, Leonard, Mills, Green, and Ginobli. Even with an unguarded man Dallas was able to deflect the ball out of bounds leaving .4 seconds on the clock and another chance for the Spurs. This is when Monte Ellis and Jae Crawford began vehemently trying to convince the clueless officials to the fact that the Spurs had six men on the court. In 2009 the NBA enacted a new rule for having Six men on the court. Allowing the offended team to choose whether to accept or nullify the action. (i.e. if the team with 5 scored they may choose to let the play stand instead of accepting the technical foul) Obviously had San Antonio scored Dallas would’ve chosen to nullify the play, but of course, this only matters if the penalty is actually called, which it wasn’t as none of the officials or announcers ever noticed the error.
See the offending play here. Count them yourself:
In the end the Dallas Mavericks were able to fight off missed free throws, bone headed decisions (I’m speaking directly to you Monte Ellis), and even extra Spurs to force a game 7 in San Antonio.