When Vince Carter's potential game-winner bounced off the rim and the Mavericks lost a grueling contest to the Spurs on Thursday night, much of the outcry came from the final moments and Carter's shot. While it's easy to point to that play as the reason the Mavs lost (conventional basketball wisdom says shooting a 3-pointer down one point is SOFT AND WEAK), the loss was much more complicated than that.

Two plays in particular come to mind. In a close game, every possession matters. And when you're a relatively average team (like the Mavericks depressingly are) going against an elite one (who once again the Spurs frustratingly are) there is almost zero margin for error.

Before we get to the two plays in question, some thoughts on the final shot from Carter.