DALLAS — Five games into the season, shooting guard Monta Ellis already has impressed those associated with the Dallas Mavericks.Known in some circles as a player concerned with his own statistics, Ellis has been anything but selfish in his first season with the Mavs. And owner Mark Cuban knows why.“I think it’s desire to win. I think it’s culture of the organization, being around Dirk [Nowitzki] and Vince [Carter] and Shawn [Marion] and Jose [Calderon] and guys that have been here and been through the wars and won,” Cuban said. “He gets to see what that’s about, and I think that makes a huge difference.“The guy wants to win. He doesn’t care about numbers, he wants to win.”Ellis went into Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City averaging 25 points and shooting 53.1 percent from the floor. He’s fit in so well with the other veterans, it’s as if he’s been with the Mavs for years.“I think he’s lot more dedicated to the system than people expected that he would be,” Cuban said. “I think people perceived that he was Monta first and everything else second. And I think he’s made it very, very clear on both ends of the court that he’s team first and everything else second.”In addition to his scoring, Ellis is a proficient player on defense. And even when he’s talking defense, Ellis’ focus is on the team’s defense as a whole. “We’re getting better and better every game,” Ellis said of the Mavs’ defense. “As long as we keep scrambling, then we’ll be all right.”Ball controlAfter turning the ball over 20 times in the opener against Atlanta, the Mavs followed that up with 14 turnovers against Houston, 11 against Memphis and 12 against the Los Angeles Lakers.The turnover numbers have fallen as the players have gotten more accustomed to playing together.“I knew it was going to take a little time, but this is very quick for us,” forward Jae Crowder said. “I’m a little surprised about that, but I knew we had the right type of guys like [Jose] Calderon at the point who really protects the ball. But it just trickled down on our team. That’s one of our points of emphasis coming into every game is take care of the ball.”‘A shame’ for ChandlerOwner Mark Cuban sent his sympathy to New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who is out four to six weeks with a broken leg.“It’s a shame,” Cuban said. “I hope he gets well soon. He’s a great guy. You hate to see it happen to anybody.”Chandler helped Cuban’s Mavs win the 2011 NBA title and was the player credited for changing the franchise’s defensive culture.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice