Mavericks beat Lakers in blowout
Dirk Nowitzki's new pick-and-roll partner put on quite a show for the old one.
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 assists.
"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 up."
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 rebounds.
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 18 points.
"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 Dallas.
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.