The Mavs continued putting their offensive weaponry on display in Tuesday’s 123-104 home win over the Lakers, building a lead as large as 30 points, relying on Monta Ellis’ 30 points as one of seven Dallas players in double-figures, shooting 52 percent because of all the action at the rim and making 13 three-pointers because … well, because LA was helpless in trying to stop anything.
“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.
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.
Meanwhile, the starting lineup for the 3-1 Mavs was locked in and balanced. 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, Jose Calderon had 12 points and five assists and Dirk Nowitzki 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."
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 Jae Crowder (18 points), Gal Mekel (nine points, six assists and four rebounds) , Vince Carter (eight points) and the bullish DeJuan Blair (10 points and eight rebounds).
“It’s just our first group coming and a doing a good job,’’ said Blair, giving credit to the starting five. “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 and sporting a 3-0 record at home. The thoroughness of this victory is also exemplified by what the Mavs did to LA on the boards (a 50-35 edge) and by what Dallas’ crisp and unselfish offense did in the assist department: The Mavs had 34 assists on their 49 baskets.
“Yeah,’’ Blair confirmed from a happy Mavs postgame locker room, “it was fun out there tonight.’’