DALLAS – It didn’t take Monta Ellis very long to rebound from his worst shooting performance of the season.
One game after making just 4-of-22 baskets while scoring only 11 points Sunday in a road loss to the Phoenix Suns, Ellis regrouped and poured in a season-high tying 38 points Tuesday during the Dallas Mavericks’ crucial 101-94 victory over the defending world champion San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Center.
Ellis converted 16-of-27 shots and also contributed five assists and two steals. But afterwards he refused to admit he was the catalyst behind a win which improved the Mavs’ record to 45-27.
"It was a total team effort,’’ Ellis said. "I was just taking what the defense gave me.
"Everybody was juiced up and we came out playing very aggressive.’’
Ellis was so aggressive that he scored seven of the Mavs’ first nine points and already had 28 points after three quarters. The 10-year veteran was in attack mode all night and the Spurs had no defense that could contain him.
"He was big-time, and that’s the Monta we know,’’ said Chandler Parsons, who had 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. "That just shows you his confidence just to stick with it himself, and our confidence in him just to keep giving him the ball.
"He’s always been a great scorer, and it’s impressive to put 38 up on Kawhi Leonard – he’s a very good defender. When he got going early we just kept giving the ball to him in good spots and he made plays.’’
Ellis made so many plays that he had both his jumpers and his drives to the basket going, and he totally had the Spurs on the ropes.
"I think we started out well, and after that it was the Mr. Ellis show,’’ Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We just didn’t contain him.
"He went off and that was really the ball game.’’
This is the third time this season Ellis has befuddled San Antonio’s defense. He also scored 26 and 38 point sin two previous games this season against the Spurs.
"He shot the ball well,’’ Spurs point guard Tony Parker said. "He had everything going for him.’’
Not even a defensive change could slow down Ellis, who tied his season high in field goals made with 16.
"We changed defenses, we went back and forth and we changed it up a little bit,’’ Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "But as I said, he had a night.
"He had a night, and those are situations where we can do what we can do. But if we’re making shots we can kind of counter that a little bit, but we went through an extensive stretch where we couldn’t answer for it.’’
Forward Dirk Nowitzki
"It looked like he had a great rhythm form the start,’’ Nowitzki said. "They really started out going under his pick-and-rolls like they always do, and made his first two or three pull-ups and then he had them going, because then they started going over.
"He had them on the drive, he blew by the picks a couple of times, and we all know how great he is in the paint when they go under. He just played a fantastic offensive game for us.’’