When he strained his right hamstring against the Utah Jazz, Monta Ellis kept saying Friday it wasn’t anything serious, and that no one should be panicking.
Thus, while other members of the Dallas Mavericks were surprised that Ellis was able to be on the court at tip-off Sunday against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, the nine-year veteran simply went about his business.
In 28 minutes, Ellis scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds as the Mavs won five consecutive games for the first time this season, cruising to a 102-91 victory over the Celtics.
The Mavs (31-21) climbed 10 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2010-2011 season with a 57-25 record. The Mavs also moved into sole possession of the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff race and are percentage points behind Phoenix, which has the sixth seed.
Ellis claimed afterward he wasn’t even thinking about his hamstring injury during the game.
“Just going out there and do what I’ve been doing the whole season and worry about that after the game,” he said. “I feel good — no pain, just take it day by day.
“I told y’all that’s a minor injury. It might sound big to most people, but for me if I can walk I can play.”
The Mavs certainly came up big on a day when they recorded their first five-game winning streak since they won six straight from Feb. 8-17, 2012.
“It’s been a nice little winning streak here,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who tallied a game-high 20 points for the Mavs. “We definitely needed it here since obviously Memphis is playing really well lately and they’re making a push, and we’re looking to move up.”
Dallas only led 44-38 at the half, but Jose Calderon scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter, which ended with the Mavs nursing a 72-56 lead.
An alley-oop dunk from Devin Harris ended the third period before another one by Harris opened the final quarter. Vince Carter then scored eight consecutive points as the Mavs went ahead 89-65 with 7:36 left.
“Most importantly I think we’re just locked in, and we’re just doing what needs to be done,” said Carter, who collected 14 points in 21 minutes. “We’re just playing at a higher level, everybody is on the same page, moving the ball.
“The streak is great, but I just think everybody is contributing, everybody is understanding their role, which has helped our continuity. We know what to expect from everybody.”
Nine of 10 Mavs who played were on the court for over 20 minutes. Shawn Marion registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The only hiccup came when — from 5:50 left in the game to the 1:54 mark — the Celtics outscored the Mavs 24-9 to pull within 98-89.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was in awe of what an “injured” Ellis accomplished against the Celtics.
“When he was out there [Sunday] in shootaround I was like, ‘What?’ ” Carlisle said. “I was joking with the assistant coaches that he’s like Peter Parker, must have got bitten by that radioactive spider that put a jolt into his body where he’s healed.
“He’s just a phenomenal healer. Him playing, that sends a great message to the rest of the guys about just being here — and it was big.”