"Monta basketball" got off to a great start in Dallas.
Monta Ellis was magnificent in his Dallas Mavericks debut, lighting up the Atlanta Hawks for 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting and dishing for eight assists. The one blemish in Ellis’ line was the seven turnovers. But he attacked the basket relentlessly, making good things happen for Dallas much more often than not.
Ellis keyed an explosive outing by the Mavs' new, improved offense. Dallas shot 57.1 percent from the floor and had 31 assists on 44 buckets.
Dirk Nowitzki opened his 16th season with the kind of offensive efficiency Mavs fans have come to expect of him. He scored 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He also had five assists.
In short, the two-man game with Nowitzki and Ellis was a thing of beauty. It clicked from the opening tip, with Ellis and Nowitzki combining to score 14 of the Mavs’ first 16 points.
Vince Carter provided a third scoring threat with 21 points off the bench, including an alley-oop from Jose Calderon (11 assists) that started a 12-0 run and gave the Mavs the lead for good while Nowitzki was resting in the third quarter.
What it means: It’s only one game, but it’s an encouraging start. Dallas displayed the kind of offensive firepower the front office hoped to see while reconstructing the roster this summer. Ellis provided hope he can be the kind of sidekick Nowitzki needs for the Mavs to have a chance to make noise in the West.
Play of the game: It might not have quite been vintage Vinsanity, but it was still a pretty sweet, high-flying highlight: After coming off a back pick by Samuel Dalembert at the top of the key, Carter caught a perfect lob pass from Calderon and finished with a two-hand flush midway through the third quarter. That sparked the Mavs’ 12-0 spurt.
Stat of the night: A Dallas guard hadn’t had at least 32 points and eight assists in a game since Jason Terry on Feb. 8, 2010.