There’ no use hiding the fact: The Los Angeles Lakers are terrible, no matter how many changes Mike D’Antoni makes in his lineup every game. The Dallas Mavericks on the other hand, winning 123-104, have found the perfect sidekick to Dirk Nowitzki in Monta Ellis, leading 7 players in double figures on an almost perfect shooting night.
Monta Ellis scored 30 points while shooting 11-of-14 from the field and 8-0f-8 from the line, adding 9 assists. Against the no-defense the Lakers presented regardless of the lineup they used, the Mavs had no problem putting impressive shooting numbers of 52.1% from the field and 48.1% from beyond the arc.
Dirk Nowitzki didn’t need to over exert himself, scoring only 11 points in 28 minutes. It was a chance for players like Jae Crowder and Gal Mekel to get some time on the court. Crowder scored 18 points and was joined by DeJuan Blair from the bench with another double figure scoring game and doing quite well on both ends of the floor, ending the game with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals in only 18 minutes. Gal Mekel played 26 minutes while Jose Calderon was having a night to rest, as the Israeli added 9 points and 6 assists in his best game as an NBA player.
As Monta Ellis put it later in an interview, the lane was always wide open, making it quite easy for him to attack. The Mavs scored 52 points in the paint and won the rebounding battle 50-35, as the Lakers keep looking especially terrible when their starting five is on the floor, looking slow, old and lacking any sort of connection between one another during the early minutes of the game.
Their lineup consisting of Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Shawne Williams and Xavier Henry combined to score only 32 points. It was the first time since the NBA-ABA merger that no Lakers starter had more than 10 points in the game, combining to shoot 35.2% from the field.
It’s especially hard to watch great players like Pau Gasol, who is struggling to become the dominant paint player he once was as it’s quite easy for teams to focus on him. He scored 10 points; he’s averaging 14.6 this season, shooting 40.9% from the field. Steve Nash is doing worse, unable to play more than 20-25 minutes a night, scoring only 5 points on 2-of-8 from the field.
The guys coming off the bench did help make it look less embarrassing. Nick Young scored 21 points, while Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar and Chris Kaman did a decent job against the Mavs’ subs during the second half of the game. But without any defense from the players that spend most of the time on the floor, it doesn’t really matter how many times D’Antoni turns the rotation upside down on its head.
Kobe Bryant will fix it? It’s hard to say. Maybe the Lakers will look better offensively, but they’re giving up 109 points per game, which is going to be very hard to catch up with each night, even if he’s going to be back to his old self quite quickly.
The lane was wide open, so I just attacked, and when they came over, I passed the ball, and that’s what we wanted. Me being aggressive opened everything else up.