After being mentioned in rumors about not staying with the team another season, Monta Ellis responds with a season high to lead the struggling Dallas Mavericks in a big 101-94 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Despite all of their problems on and off the court, the Mavericks are 2-1 in the season series against the Spurs and more or less tied with them, both 13.5 games behind the Golden State Warriors. And they seem to be putting their worse stretch of the season which included some painful blowouts, even at home, behind them. Ellis, as Rick Carlisle has stressed out a number of times, is their most important player.
Ellis scored 38 points, matching his season high, which also came in the previous game against the Spurs. His way of attacking the basket seemed to be too much for the Spurs who struggled handling the movement of Rajon Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Ellis all at once. Ellis barely needed the line to get his numbers, shooting 16-of-27 from the field., helped out by Parsons and Nowitzki, both scoring 15 points.
The defense from the Mavericks was very good. This wasn’t just a case of the Spurs not getting their open shots to drop. They shot 42.4% from the field and turned the ball over 16 times, outscored by 14 points in the paints by the Mavericks. Tim Duncan scored just 6 points in 24 minutes; Tony Parker was having another bad day (8 points on 3-of-11 from the field) and Kawhi Leonard leading them with 19 points just wasn’t special enough.
The Mavericks are a team with problems. Rajon Rondo can be a black hole on offense and his defense hasn’t been very consistent. Chandler Parsons isn’t the same player he was during the beginning of the season and Ellis, besides this game, has been awful in March. But there’s plenty of potential, especially offensive, and if Rick Carlisle can sort out a functioning, consistent rotation, hopes of making a run for the title might not be lost just yet.