Vince Carter was thisclose to pulling the Mavericks' tails out of a difficult situation Tuesday night.

Carter came up with a huge offensive rebound, then quickly got loose for a layup that brought the Mavericks within 100-98.

After a good defensive stand, Carter got the ball on the perimeter and the Philadelphia 76ers thought so much of him that they ran a double team in his direction.

Carter found O.J. Mayo who split the defense and got fouled on the way to the basket.

The free throws didn't go down, but the play of Carter gave the Mavericks a fighting chance against the Sixers. He finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.

It's play like Carter's that gives the Mavericks a reason for hope moving forward.

"Vince was great," coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was unfortunate because it looked like it was completely lost. We hung in and gave ourselves a chance and then one of our best free-throw shooters missed one. Then we end up getting it back but have to fling one up there. Right now it's tough. But I'm steadfast in my belief in these guys. We got to keep believing in each other."