So far, so great. Monta Ellis has done exactly what the Mavericks envisioned: He’s changing not only their offense, but their identity.
Long ridiculed as a “soft” team too reliant on perimeter jump shots, the Mavs are now a team playing inside-out – without the benefit of an offensively skilled center. With a quick step into the paint here and an attack of the rim there, Ellis is opening both defenses and scoring opportunities for Dallas early in the season.
His presence was felt again Monday night at the American Airlines Center. The Mavs hit the snooze button early against the woeful Sixers, not scoring in the game’s first five minutes against the NBA’s worst defense and trailing by as many as 10 points.
But in the second half Ellis took over. He penetrated. He pulled up. He passed. He scored 13 points and dished out three assists in the third quarter as Dallas awoke just in time for a 97-94 victory. Ellis has been maligned for his ball-hogging, but he’s been something fresh and different this season – efficient.
Last night he had 24 points on only 14 shots, and he’s scored at least 18 points in all 11 games. He’s just what the doctor ordered: A player quick enough to get where he wants to go. A player strong enough to absorb contact. A player clever enough to finish at the rim via a variety of shots and angles.
The Mavs are 5-0 at home and three games over .500 since starting last year 4-1.
Even better, Monta Ellis is as good as advertised.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.