'He's like Peter Parker,' coach Rick Carlisle said of Monta Ellis following Sunday's 102-91 Mavs win at Boston. 'He most have gotten bitten by that radioactive spider where he just healed.' 'The Amazing Spider-Mavs'? OK, maybe that's a stretch. There were no actual superheroes here, just basketball-level heroes helping Dallas to a fifth straight win.
Monta Ellis was no sure thing to play in this game as he was nursing a hamstring problem. But Carlisle noted that he spent "36 hours'' working with trainer Casey Smith to get ready, and ready he was as his sheer presence in the lineup (and his 11 points) seemed to spark Dallas to a 102-91 win.
"Him being in the lineup is huge for us,'' said Carlisle, whose A HREF=http://mavericks.scout.com/> Dallas Mavericks are now 10 games over .500 at 31-21 and in seventh in the West. "He’s an amazing guy.''
So there's your "Amazing'' Spider-Man. (DB.com graphic by Will Riggs.) And your UberMan? That's Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 15 in the first half on his way to 20 for his seventh straight high-efficiency game and this time, one accomplished while working under the shadow of the legendary Larry Bird, with whom he is so often compared.
"“Anytime you get compared to one of the greatest players ever, it’s a heck of a compliment,” Dirk said. "He was one of a kind.”
Well, actually, two-of-a-kind.
Said Rick: "They're two of the top 12 players in history, without question. They're both, 10 time-plus All-Stars, Finals MVP, League MVP. ... The biggest similarity is their drive to win, their meticulous approach towards preparation, work ethic.''
As I said in my postgame piece on Fox Sports Southwest, where these two men mirror each other most is work ethic. Well, work ethic and wins; Nowitzki is now 11-4 lifetime playing in Bird's old city.
Shawn Marion finished with 11 points and 10 boards (his seventh double-double of the season), Samuel Dalembert grabbed 11 rebounds and and Jose Calderon added 18 points to fortify the first team. Dallas' bench shot poorly through three quarters but eventually Vince Carter scored 14, Devin Harris contributed 12 points and assists, and Brandan Wright was good for eight points and six rebounds.
In total, lots of candidates who need lots of your votes on Who Deserves "The Dirkie'' as the Player of the Game in Boston. Rock the vote here!
And in the end, what had ballooned to a 24-point lead was enough -- even though the Mavs allowed just 38 first-half points and 35 Celtics points in the fourth -- to secure a sixth win in seven games.
Now comes a Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back at Charlotte and then Indiana, and the starters sitting at the end (Monta included) might be helpful as Dallas tries to extend the streak.
“That should help for Tuesday,” Carlisle said. “ I had very little hope that he would even think about playing, and then he spent the last 36 hours with Casey Smith and he wanted to go. It sends a great message to our team with a guy wanting to be there and play.''