This was one of those good news, bad news nights for the Dallas Mavericks.
First, the Mavs finally generated some much-needed positive news as they found a way to snap a four-game home losing streak with Tuesday’s 110-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
But when Shawn Marion left the American Airlines Center court late in the second quarter with a right shoulder contusion after crashing into Dirk Nowitzki, no one knew it would be a serious setback. Marion, though, did not travel after the game with the Mavs to San Antonio, where they play the Spurs Wednesday night at AT&T Center, and he might not play in Friday’s game in New Orleans.
“He’s banged up,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “X-rays were negative. “We hope that he feels better [Wednesday] or the next day. We’ll see.”
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Monta Ellis certainly amped his game up in a hurry for the Mavs, who improved their record to 20-15 after finishing this homestand 1-2. In a slump after scoring just 26 points during the previous two games, Ellis became instant offense in the fourth quarter Tuesday night when the Mavs needed him the most.
After the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers pulled to within 91-85, Ellis went to work and scored 10 straight points as the Mavs widened their lead to 101-88 with 5:44 left in the game.
The flurry by Ellis came in a variety of ways. He scored a bucket on a drive, another on a steal and coast-to-coast layup, and then followed that with a jumper after another steal.
Ellis then scooped in a shot via a fast break and finished his spectacular 1 minute, 54-second power surge with a jumper that all but sealed the victory.
“It was a key stretch of the game,” Carlisle said. “Monta had a rough game to that point offensively, although he had quite a few assists.
“At that point we needed a spark, and he made plays. He made a couple of plays that weren’t necessarily scorers, and he made some defensive plays, too, so it was great to see.”
Entering the fourth quarter Ellis was just 2 of 11 from the field with six points. But in the fourth he tallied 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
“I just stayed with it,” said Ellis, who distributed nine assists and picked up five steals to go along with his 16 points. “I kept attacking the basket and kept taking my shots and eventually they started going down.
“We got a lot of defensive stops. We got out in transition and made shots on the other end.”
The Mavs got 27 points and seven rebounds from Nowitzki, 19 points from Vince Carter, 15 points and nine boards from DeJuan Blair, and 12 points, eight assists and five steals from Jose Calderon.
Marion and Blair each scored eight points which helped the Mavs roll out to a 33-31 lead after the first quarter. But Marion inadvertently crashed into Nowitzki and left the court rubbing his right shoulder with 1:34 left before halftime.
The Mavs led 60-53 at halftime and 85-77 after three quarters. Then Ellis went to work.
“Let me tell you, he’s a monster,” Carter said of Ellis. “When we go through lulls in the game sometimes it’s frustrating.
“But I’ll tell you with the team that we have we had so many guys rolling to where it was easy for him in the fourth quarter. One thing about Monta, regardless if he’s hitting shots or not, he’s making the right plays for guys, and in the fourth quarter he was really putting the ball in the basket.”
Ellis also assisted on baskets to Wright and Blair that padded the Mavs’ cushion to 107-95 with 3:35 left.
“Sometimes you’re going to go for 20 [points] right away, sometimes you don’t feel it, but he’s always there for us,” Calderon said of Ellis. “He’s always there at the end, and you know he’s going to make plays for us.”