Dirk Nowitzki’s new pick-and-roll partner put on quite a show
for the old one.
Monta Ellis had 30 points and nine assists, Nowitzki was another
of seven Dallas players in double figures with 11 points and the
Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 123-104 Tuesday night.
Steve Nash, Nowitzki’s buddy and old running mate, had an
up-close view as Ellis did a little bit of everything, scoring on
drives and pull-up jumpers while finding open teammates with nifty
passing that has come as a pleasant surprise to the Mavericks.
Ellis was 11 of 14 from the field, made all eight of his free
throws and had just one of 12 Dallas turnovers against 34
“The lane was wide open, so I just attacked, and when they came
over, I passed the ball and that’s what we wanted,” said Ellis, who
had at least 30 points and eight assists for the second time in his
four games with Dallas. “Me being aggressive opened everything else
Nash was scoreless until the second half and finished with five
points. Nick Young led the Lakers with 21.
“We obviously had a hard time containing Ellis,” said Nash, who
was Nowitzki’s teammate in Dallas for the big German’s first six
seasons. “He got into the guts of our defense all night, getting
easy buckets, resting buckets for his teammates and just really
spacing us out with his penetration.”
The Mavericks never trailed, led by 20 late in the first half
and pushed the lead to 26 early in the second half after Ellis got
them off to a quick start with a jumper and two assists, including
one when Nowitzki took the pass and ducked under a defender’s arm
for the layup.
“Monta Ellis was fantastic tonight, all aspects of the game,”
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He defended, he made plays at the
rim, he was under control, he hit midrange shots, he hit guys
cutting to the basket.”
Jose Calderon had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point
range, including one that put Dallas ahead 90-60 with 4:33 left in
the third quarter. The Mavericks were 13 of 27 from long range.
The Lakers tried to make it interesting with a 19-4 run, but
DeJuan Blair stopped it by blocking a layup attempt by Chris Kaman,
leading to a 3-pointer by rookie Gal Mekel after Nowitzki passed
out of a double team.
Mekel scored again on layup off a steal from Blair, who had 10
points — all in the first half — and eight
Jae Crowder kept the Lakers from getting any closer by going 4
of 4 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter, and getting a
breakaway dunk on assist from Ellis. He finished with a career-high
The top three scorers came off the bench for the Lakers, who
were blown out for the second time in two road games without Kobe
Bryant. After Young, Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks had 11
“You can’t get blown out and then think now we need to learn to
win,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “No, we need to learn how to
play. We’re not playing right now. We don’t come out with the same
grit and determination.”
Nowitzki didn’t get his first points until he faked Pau Gasol
and drove for a dunk to put the Mavericks up 59-39 with 3 minutes
left in the first half.
When Ellis wasn’t running the offense in a first half that
featured 21 Dallas assists against just two turnovers, Mekel kept
it rolling with Blair, the backup center. Mekel had nine points and
six assists, with four of each coming before halftime.
Ellis had two free throws to start an 11-2 Dallas run late in
the first quarter, featuring mostly backups. Three straight buckets
came on assists from Mekel — a 3-pointer by Vince Carter and
consecutive buckets from Blair.
Carter hit a 3-pointer and a layup, and Shawn Marion hit a
jumper in the lane to give Dallas its first 20-point lead at 57-37
with 3:39 left in the first half.
Gasol was on the only Los Angeles starter in double figures with
10 points. Kaman had all 10 of his points before halftime in his
first game against the Mavericks and spending last season in
NOTES: Kaman was critical of Carlisle on Tuesday after spending
just one season under him. He characterized Carlisle as among
“coaches who say one thing in one ear and then behind your back
they’re saying something else.” Carlisle said it “didn’t work out
well here with Chris and I take my share of the responsibility.”
Kaman had a good start with Dallas but barely played late in the
season and skipped his exit interview because he figured he wasn’t
coming back. … Ellis had three steals Saturday against Memphis to
give him 900 for his career.