Highlights: Mavs vs. Timberwolves - 11/15/14

Monta Ellis led the way with 30 points and seven others scored in double digits as the Mavs chopped down the Timberwolves 131-117.

Monta Ellis isn’t the player of the week just because of his own numbers. We’re beginning to see significant evidence through 10 games that his fingerprints are really all over this team.

Ellis went ballistic on the court this week, scoring 21.5 points in just 32 minutes per game and hitting well over half his shots. Dallas was 24 points per 100 possessions overall when Ellis played. Those are impressive numbers, and they’re a huge reason by Dallas went 3-1, including one dramatic comeback win against Sacramento and two fairly convincing wins over Philadelphia and Minnesota.

Much was made last season of Monta’s development as a player and how effective he became alongside Dirk Nowitzki. A lot of very smart people pointed to Nowitzki’s impact on floor spacing making things easier for Ellis, and therefore Dirk deserved a lot of the credit. That isn’t necessarily incorrect, though one could argue that the German benefited just as much from Ellis. Their symbiotic relationship in the halfcourt propelled Dallas to a league-best offense after the All-Star break last season and the Mavs are off to another crazy-good start this season.

Monta’s Week in Numbers
21.5 PPG (led team) 4.0 APG 1.5 SPG (T-team lead) 52.4% FG 40.0% 3PT 120.2 Offensive Rating 23.9 Net Rating

That said, Ellis has connected with several other Mavericks this season en route to maybe the most efficient start to a year in his career. For example, per NBA.com, Brandan Wright has attempted 10 shots this season off of Ellis passes, and he’s made all of them. Tyson Chandler is shooting 85.7 percent on field goal attempts following a dish from his pick-and-roll partner. Parsons connects on 55 percent of his attempts. Devin Harris is shooting 50 percent on three-pointers following an Ellis pass.

Notice the pattern? Ellis is generating offense for everyone, including himself. And they’re easy points, too. A huge chunk of those points are a result of Ellis penetrating the defense. Dallas scores nearly 1.4 points every time the 2-guard drives to the rim, per SportVU. Ellis is scoring just 6.7 points on drives, but he’s creating 7.0 points for others as well. But even as his individual per-game scoring average off drives has dropped from last season to this season, he’s still 4th in points in the paint per game among guards. The Mavs are 2nd in the NBA behind only the New Orleans Pelicans.

But maybe the biggest impact Ellis has made is felt in another part of the game: transition. Monta and Chandler Parsons are two of the most dangerous transition players in the league, and that’s transformed this Dallas team for the better. The Mavericks now look to push the ball every chance they get, whether it’s off a turnover or a long miss. Ellis is 14th in the league in fast break points per game and the Mavs are 4th as a team. Parsons and Ellis combine to score 6.6 points on the break every game. Those are six very easy points, and as close as the West is going to be this season, every last point matters and could very well decide a game.

After Dallas signed Ellis last summer, he said he wanted to become a one-man fast break. This season, he doesn’t need to be. He’s got company.

STAT OF THE WEEK2

The Mavericks have recorded 30+ assists in two consecutive games for just the second time since the end of the 2009-10 season, per Basketball-Reference. Dallas dropped 33 dimes against Philadelphia on Thursday and 31 last night against Minnesota. The site’s game database only goes back to the 1985-86 season, and it’s just the 13th time since that season that the Mavs have followed one 30-assist game with another. The Mavericks only reached three straight games once — during a stretch in March of 2008.

That run has increased the team’s assists per game average from 21.6 to 23.7, a remarkable leap in such a short time span. Obviously, small sample size is still a factor, as Dallas has just played 10 games this season. However, the Mavs only recorded 30+ assists in 10 games last season, according to Basketball-Reference. That the team has already done it twice this season — never mind that it was in two straight contests — speaks volumes about the club’s willingness to share the ball. That starts with this week’s player of the week, Monta Ellis, and continues all the way down the roster.

Up next for Dallas is a date with Charlotte tomorrow night. This season the Hornets are allowing 23.6 assists per game, the sixth-highest mark in the league. It will take a terrific 48 minutes of ball movement to reach the 30-dime plateau yet again, but the Mavs offense is in a groove right now, and crazy things can happen when shots are falling. There are already plenty of reasons to watch this team, but the quest for 30 is one more.

Share and comment

More Mavs News