DALLAS -- Some quick hitters from the Dallas Mavericks’ locker room after their season-opening 118-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks:
Hold off on parade plans: Leave it to 16-year veteran Dirk Nowitzki, never one to get too high, to put the Game 1 win in perspective.
“I told the guys we’re not going to go 0-82 this year, so that’s great,” Nowitzki deadpanned after scoring nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. “It’s so early, it’s hard to see, but we’re capable of offensive nights like that and that’s good to know.”
Ellis electrifying: The Mavs couldn’t have asked for a much better debut from Monta Ellis, who settled for a three-year, $25 million deal with Dallas after slipping through the cracks in free agency. If his 32-point, eight-assist performance is a sign of things to come, that will be money well spent by Mark Cuban.
“I just wanted to be more aggressive,” said Ellis, who was 11-of-17 from the floor. “Right now, I’m in a good rhythm. My teammates did a great job of finding me, setting screens and the main thing I had to do is just be aggressive, attack the basket and make the right plays.”
Blair plays big: With Brandan Wright out indefinitely while recovering from a fracture in his shoulder, backup center was one of the Mavs’ biggest questions entering the season. DeJuan Blair answered with an exclamation point against the Hawks, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds in 21 tough minutes.
“We really needed somebody to rise up at the backup center position and lay claim to it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “This is by far the best he has played.”