He didn’t even see the fortuitous bounce that sunk his buzzer beating 3-pointer to give the Bucks a 110-107 victory in Houston on Wednesday night.
With Brandon Jennings stuck near the sideline and cut off by Jeremy Lin, Ellis popped up to bail him out. Catching the ball while twisting around and elevating over the 6-foot-9 Chandler Parsons, Ellis sunk the 27-footer to give the Bucks a 2-0 trip to Texas.
The play was reviewed, but Ellis was already off to celebrate the improbable shot in the locker room.
“I was ready for it the whole time,” Ellis said. “Even if we didn’t get a shot off, we were going to go into overtime. I didn’t want to go into overtime, I was winded. We fought hard and came out with the win. The buzzer went off when it was rolling around the rim. There was no need for me to come back out.”
After Rockets guard James Harden tied the game with a layup in traffic with 34 seconds left, Milwaukee missed two shots but got offensive rebounds from Ersan Ilyasova and Ellis to be able to hold for the final shot.
Bucks coach Jim Boylan sarcastically said it was exactly the way he drew it up, but the Bucks winning was ultimately what mattered, no matter how improvisational it was.
“I could have used a timeout, but I didn’t want to let their defense get set,” Boylan said. “We had it, were in position and went flat right there to get the last shot. Brandon kind of stumbled and Monta came and bailed him out right there and let it go.”
The game winner was the ending of another fine game for Ellis, his second in as many nights. Ellis finished with 27 points, 13 assists and six steals, the first Bucks player with that stat line since 1985-86.
In the two games in Texas, Ellis scored 49 points, dished out 22 assists and had 12 steals.
“He’s all over the floor,” Boylan said. “He’s playing defense. Offensively he’s getting after it. He’s doing everything for us right now. I don’t know if anybody in the league is playing as hard as he is right now. As a coach, you look at him out there playing like that (and) he’s an inspiration to his teammates.
“I’m happy he’s on our team.”
Milwaukee was able to overcome allowing 70 points in the paint and a 17-point first-quarter deficit to pick up another big road win. With two home games looming before the second west coast trip of the season, the Bucks are back at .500 and 5 ½ games ahead of Philadelphia for the East’s final playoff spot.
“When you look at the schedule and look at those two games, you’d be happy with a split,” Boylan said of the Texas back-to-back. “To be able to go 2-0 after having a tough time at home, it’s really big for us, really big.”