Some close-out ability in the 118-109 season-starting win over the Hawks. ... Monta with the…
First Impressions: Mavs 118, Hawks 109
The Dallas Mavericks unveiled themselves as potential offensive juggernaut, a team with close-out ability and a team with unity in this 118-109 victory over the Hawks in the season-opener for both teams at the AAC.
The difference-maker? Monta Ellis, who scored 32 points and recorded eight assists - an effort that ranks as one of the greatest debuts in franchise history.
The last time a Dallas guard put up those sort of numbers in any game? That was Jason Terry, circa 2010. The last time a Mav performed this well statistically in an opener? That was Dirk, who scored 34 to begin the 2009 season.
"Monta is sensational in pick-n-rolls looking aggressively to score, or if he doesn't have it, finding open shooters,'' said Nowitzki. "And that's fantastic."
Said Monta: "I'm grateful to have (Dirk), have somebody who can take the pressure off me. .. We've just got to work off each other."
Nowitzki was fantastic enough as well, with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Vince Carter came off the bench to score 21 on 9-of-16 shooting. Shawn Marion chipped in with 12 points and eight boards.
The Mavs opened impressively as Ellis and Nowitzki combined to score 14 of the Mavs' first 16 points. Dallas went on a key 12-0 run in the third. But maybe most important of all as the Mavs try to put last year's 41-41 finish behind them: Dallas asserted itself most of all to close the game, led by the quarterbacking of Jose Calderon and his 11 assists. Calderon hit a 3-pointer late -- one of seven Mavs makes from the arc. In that same final period, Nowitzki hit two in a row and Ellis canned one as well for a 118-102 lead with 1:18 remaining.
In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki and Ellis combined for 5-of-8 shooting (and 4-of-4 from the arc) for 16 points.
In total, Dallas shot 57.1 percent from the floor, totaled 31 assists and kept its foot on the accelerator to seal the win. Maybe the biggest mop-up issues come in two areas. Ellis did have seven of turnovers, causing coach Rick Carlisle to say, "He's just got to be a little more disciplined. ... I don't think he's ever played with a team like this."
And then there is the defense, which figures to be a season-long challenge.
"The only downer was I don't like we weren't great defensively and gave up 109 points on our home court,'' Nowitzki said. "(But) listen, the home opener is always tough and we'll take the win and move on. ... We're not going 0-82, so that's great."
DallasBasketball.com Recommended Stories
Week 12: Super Sleepers
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Jeb Gorham digs in his list of rankings to find the best sleepers for deeper formats. Consider giving these players a chance, but be aware of the risks! Since the…Read More
How the CFB Playoff Will Look in December
Our weekly look at how the CFB Playoff will look in December based on the newest Top 25...Read More
Hardin blasts Goodell over Peterson case
Adrian Peterson’s defense attorney Rusty Hardin blasted the NFL commissioner over his handling of Peterson’s suspension, saying he is trying to make up for the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice situation…Read More
The Biggest Reveals of the 2014 LA Auto Show
These eight glorious machines demonstrate the future of automotive design and technology.Read More
The Death of a Trophy Bass Lake
One big bass hunter's dream might have just died with the Golden Alga bloom on this trophy bass fishery in CaliforniaRead More