Mavs Dominate Kobe-Less LA: All-Access Pass
The Mavs continued putting their offensive weaponry on display in Tuesday's 123-104 home win over the Lakers. Thirty was the magic number: That was as large as the Dallas lead bloated to; and 30 points is what Monta Ellis managed as one of seven Dallas players in double-figures.
The Mavs also shot 52 percent in large part due to the creativity and aggression in the pick-and-roll game that got them to the rim so easily. The trickle-up effect of the drives were the chances to take and make uncontested 3's, and Dallas made 13 treys.
"That was fun,'' said Dirk Nowitzki ... who said much more:
And really, Dallas (3-1 overall and 3-0 at home) piled it on in most ways statistically, moving its scoring average to 114.3 points per game, muscling LA to a 50-35 edge on the boards, and executing so crisply and unselfishly in the ball-movement game that the Mavs had 34 assists on their 49 baskets.
BALANCING ACT ...
"We have good balance,'' Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Monta Ellis was fantastic tonight in all aspects of the game. He defended, he made plays at the rim, he was under control, he hit mid-range shots, he hit guys cutting to the basket. It was a great all-around performance."
In fact, the entire Lakers starting five only outscored Ellis by two points.
Now consider that "balanced'' Mavs quintet: In addition to Ellis' electric 30 (with nine assists and just one turnover), Shawn Marion totaled 11 points and seven rebounds, Samuel Dalembert contributed with 10 points and six rebounds and Jose Calderon had 12 points and five assists. Oh, and Dirk Nowitzki -- open to shoot on many occasions but opting instead to swing the ball to a teammate who was even more open -- played a supplementary role with 11 points and eight boards.
"Teams have got to respect Dirk as a shooter,'' Ellis said modestly. "And me being aggressive, teams have got to respect that as well."
More from Monta:
We've said this before and it bears repeating: So far, it seems that "MontaBasketball'' wasn't intended as a "me-first'' threat but rather as a multi-faceted promise.
Coach Rick Carlisle with a damn good monologue on the subject:
"He's just a different kind of weapon. His catch-and-go ability, his speed in transition, his ability to change direction and attack the rim is unique in this league. He's one of about, I don't know how many guys. Harden gets to the rim like that. Monta gets to the rim like that. Chris Paul can, of course. There's a few guys, Westbrook can. Durant is a different kind of guy; he can, too, but he's 7-feet tall.
"(Ellis) is unique and it's important that we put him in the right positions and right situations. As games go on, he's getting a good feel for what we want to do. Not only is he fast, but his change of speed and deception is really unique, too."
Just one of many numbers that establish that "uniqueness'' in the NBA and, just as importantly, Monta's "uniqueness'' compared to predecessors in a Mavs uniform:
The longest streak of consecutive games with at least six free-throw attempts for last year's Mavs was three. Monta Ellis has played four games in a Dallas uniform and has already exceeded that streak.
More from Rick on Monta and more:
""I give all the credit to my teammates,'' Ellis said, and maybe that's going to turn out to be part of "MontaBasketball,'' too.
THE ONCE-REGAL LAKERS
In six previous visits to the AAC, the often-regal Lakers had won six straight games. But this is a Kobe Bryant-less Lakers squad, a team asking Steve Nash to do things he can no longer do, a club making headlines in Southern California as it decides whether the likes of Nick Young or Xavier Henry is more qualified to be in the starting lineup, a franchise making noise because Chris Kaman griped about the way he was "head-gamed'' last year in Dallas.
A fitting quote from DeJuan Blair, still a kid and brand-new as a Mav: "The Lakers are still a great team, even though they are missing Kobe, of course, right now,'' Blair said. "But they still have great players and they are working hard with what they have.''
Isn't that sweet? DeJuan Blair almost sounds like he feels sorry for them.
SPEAKING OF KAMAN ...
DB.com readers know that I like Chris Kaman personally. He's fun and insightful and different and goofy. Oh, and smart.
But The Kaveman's intelligence rightfully comes into question after rolling into Dallas on Tuesday as a member of the Lakers and calling out his former boss in Dallas.
"Coach Carlisle is uptight and kind of plays games with people a little bit here and there,'' Kaman told reporters before the game. "You can't micromanage every tight little situation and pull guys in-and-out, in-and-out. It just doesn't work that way ...''
Actually, it does work that way in Dallas, where Carlisle absolutely does have a handful of philosophies that his players must buy into ... or else.
DB.com will have more on the subject of Carlisle vs. Kaman -- or, more accurately, Carlisle vs. Whatever Anybody Thinks Of Him -- later today as we prep for Wednesday's visit to OKC.
You should know Carlisle's public position on the topic, which goes like this: "I didn't work out well here with Chris,'' he said, "and I take my share of the responsibility.''
You should also know the slightly-more-private Carlisle view, which caused him to fail to resist the temptation to make a rare appearance in the postgame locker room, wearing that cow-ate-the-cabbage grin of his.
There's more to all this. But for now, the short version:
Rick Carlisle does play games. And if his players will go along with it, they and Rick Carlisle will win games.
"There's not really a selfish guy on this team. We all share the ball." - Dirk Nowitzki, who notably did not score in the first quarter despite the fact his team scored 35 points.
THE SECOND WAVE ...
Ellis and the starters were key in Dallas mounting a 19-point half-time lead. But the Mavs continued to pour it on in the third, which is when the lead ballooned to 30. That push included the bench work of Gal Mekel (nine points, six assists and four rebounds), Vince Carter (eight points), the bullish DeJuan Blair (10 points and eight rebounds) and the versatile Jae Crowder.
Crowder scored career high 18, doing damage by being a banger who can shoot the 3. The second-year forward is now 10-of-14 from the arc, and interestingly, all but two of his trey attempts have been in the fourth quarter.
Said the slimmed-down Crowder of his success: "I just stayed in the gym and worked on my shot. I knew I wasn't a 32-percent three-point shooter (his rookie number). In the offseason, I spent a lot of time in the gym and really worked on my shot. I have a lot of confidence in my shot right now.''
More from Jae:
Said Blair of the second unit's success: "It's just our first group coming and a doing a good job. And everybody is making shots and we're all moving and no one is standing around and just watching and that's a big key to our game. Once everyone moves around, gets touches and we're scrambling on defense and playing the right way and we get into a groove."
The groove has Dallas averaging 114.3 points per game ... largely due to both waves of offensive talent coming onto the floor.
"Yeah,'' Blair confirmed from a happy Mavs postgame locker room, "it was fun out there tonight.''
More from DeJuan Blair:
THE DB.COM MAVS PODCAST ...
The Mavs need to be covered right. So we have our infamous DB.com Mavs Podcast here on iTunes and up and running below as well ... with a very special cast of characters:
Mike Fisher, Kevin Turner, Kevin Brolan and Mike Marshall pull up a chair to the hoops roundtable to kick around the issues in this first week of the Mavs season ... And Vince Carter offers his opinion on one of the top sports stories of the week, hazing (and much worse) in the locker room.
The DallasBasketball.com Mavs Podcast, y'all!
Shawn Marion opened guarding Steve Nash. It set a tempo for the game -- and also goaded Nash into a 2-of-8 shooting night for five points. "It seemed to get us going, and putting him on the point guard has gotten us going the past couple of nights,'' Carlisle said. "Shawn's versatility is a really fantastic feature of his game.'' ... Did the Mavs take any inspiration from Kaman's comments? "No,'' Monta said. "He took an L tonight.'' ... Nash on Monta: "We obviously had a hard time containing Ellis. "He got into the guts of our defense all night." ... Shawne Williams, once upon a time a LIBB in Dallas, is being counted on for important minutes in LA. When he came to the Mavs, he did so with a bad rep. Carlisle announced that if he misbehaved, "His ass would be grass and (Carlisle and Donnie Nelson) would be the lawnmowers. Shawne eventually did get trimmed here -- and I think "grass'' might've had something to do with it. ... I'm poking fun at the Lakers not being "the Lakers.'' But this is part of the way the NBA works now: Look back at the Mavs-Lakers playoff series in the 2011 Playoffs. Yeah, only Kobe and Gasol remain on the LA roster. But only Dirk and Marion remain for the Mavs.
CONTROLLING MINUTES ...
A truly fine example of how Carlisle "micro-manages''? He made certain no player in this game played more than 28 minutes (other than heavy-lifter Ellis, who got to only 31). The blowout helped the strategy, obviously, important because of the Wednesday game in OKC. Also helping the strategy? Gal Mekel being able to handle his 26-minute load:
MONTA JOINS WILT?! ...
Elias Sports notes Ellis' line -- 30 points, 11-of-14 shooting with nine assists -- is rather historic. The last player with that many points and assists while shooting that high a percentage from the field in a game against the Lakers was Wilt Chamberlain on March 18, 1968. Wilt scored 53 points, handed out 14 assists and shot 24-for-29 from the field (.828) for the 76ers in a 158-128 victory.
WHO DESERVES 'THE DIRKIE'? ...
it's a DB.com tradition and it's up to you! Who Deserves 'The Dirkie' as the Player of the Game for the win? Vote now!
THE FINAL WORD ...
"We'll see how well our game travels. ... Now we need to take this show on the road and see what we've got." -- Dirk, all packed for Wednesday's visit to OKC as the start of a three-game roadie.