INDIANAPOLIS — While the regular season will serve as the ultimate determiner, the Dallas Mavericks appear to have finally found a suitable sidekick for 11-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki thanks to the addition of Monta Ellis.
Through the Mavericks’ (1-2) first three exhibition games during the preseason, the duo has already began to show glimpses of chemistry on the court. The Mavs hope that trend continues Wednesday night in the team’s road matchup against the Indiana Pacers, who are winless in the preseason.
“[Ellis] is great at attacking,” Nowitzki said. “He can go both ways. He’s been shooting the ball well behind screens as well, so we have a lot of options there. And when he comes off and really strings the big out and I’m open, obviously I’m going to step in and take the shots when they’re there. He’s been doing great attacking, and that’s going to probably be our bread and butter all season long.”
“It’s coming along well, but it’s only going to get better,” Ellis added as he and Nowitzki try to form a lethal two-man game on the offensive end of the floor. “As the season goes along, as we continue to get a feel for one another, the more we’re on the court, the (more) dangerous we’re going to be.”
Through three preseason games, Nowitzki is reaping the benefits of having the cat-quick Ellis operating with the ball in his hands while averaging 16.7 points on 62.1 percent shooting from the field and 57.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, Ellis has shown that he’s much more than just a scorer while often seeing time at the point in place of the injured Jose Calderon (strained left hamstring), averaging 13.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists while connecting on 50 percent from the field.
And with his team’s lead cohorts operating well together, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle figures to once again lean on the two in order to take down the Pacers (0-3) on their home floor.
“Well, I mean, it’s not surprising. They’re both guys that would be easy to play with, with any group of players. And Dirk’s one of those guys that just has a positive impact on anybody he plays with, because of how you’ve got to play him and because of his ability,” Carlisle said. “Look, those two guys together are going to be a very important part of our team this year for sure, so we want to develop as much chemistry as we can.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action Wednesday night on the road in Indiana for a matchup against the Pacers. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. CT.
The team returns to American Airlines Center Oct. 23 against the Atlanta Hawks. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.