It could have gone either way. As Monta Ellis was rolling to a career-high 46 against the Mavs on Wednesday night, were more fans reminded of the 52 Andre Miller dropped on Saturday night or the 37-point/eight-assist night Ellis had at AAC in November?
Much has been written about the Mavericks defensive struggles over the last 20 or so games, but the two brilliant individual performances by Miller and Ellis on the Mavs home floor in the last week serves as a bitter reminder of just how far this team has fallen defensively since their impressive early start.
Every team has struggles with Ellis. Dude is a scoring machine and goes for 26 a night. And when you look at his shot chart from Wednesday, it wasn’t like he was getting in the paint at will like he did on that awful November evening when Golden State beat the Mavs with only six guys getting burn.
Ellis was absolutely killing it in the 18-to-20-foot range. And many of those were going down with a hand in his face. If it wasn’t for a funky third quarter that saw him turn the ball over four times in the first four minutes before picking up three charging fouls in the remaining 7:30 of the third (for a seven-TO quarter), he probably would have had played the whole second half and we would’ve seen another guard go for 50 in a week. Despite that roller-coaster third quarter, he still went 10-13 in 20 minutes of action after intermission.
So yes, he hit some tough shots. But he still got 46 and on the heels of 52 for Miller – ANDRE MILLER – that’s some serious ugly. I know what you’re thinking. Can Ramon Sessions top his 44-point career high when the T-Wolves come into town Friday night?
After the game Rick Carlisle mentioned that Rodrigue Beaubois is already developing into one of their better on-the-ball defenders out on the perimeter. There’s a need to have him on the floor because of the athleticism he brings to an older team, but with virtually all of his minutes outside of the New York game that Jason Kidd missed coming at the off-guard, he’d be eating into minutes where the Mavs have guys like Jason Terry and Josh Howard who need to be on the floor.
It’s interesting that Roddy B checked in as a point guard against the Jazz on Monday night before having his night end way too early when he hit the ground hard after contesting a shot.
Against the Warriors, he received all of the available backup point guard minutes in the second half. I’m fascinated to know what the plan had been had he not gotten hurt against Utah. As the Mavericks try to find ways to keep opposing guards from enjoying career nights against them, will Roddy B at point guard be a factor for his defensive spark as much as the potential for him to get some offense going coming off the bench?
Carlisle hinted at that with his postgame remarks and hinted at that with his in-game rotation. Staffers will tell you he’s putting in the work to learn the position. He’s standing on the verge of getting it on. And if he can significantly help this team stop guards from doing whatever they want – then he has a chance to own those minutes.
And that’s where it’s at …