Prior to joining the Dallas Mavericks, Monta “Have It All” Ellis averaged just 9.7 points in 15 career playoffs games.
He had 17 points at the end of three quarters. On any other night, that would be a big enough contribution to the team assuming Dirk Nowitzki took care of his own business. However, Tiago Splitter and the Spurs defense have not allowed the Big German to get into any kind of groove so 17 points wasn’t going to be enough for a win Saturday.
Ellis sat to start the fourth quarter but subbed in for Vince Carter at the 8:23 mark. Looking back at the game, the Spurs probably wish he had sat a few more minutes. Two minutes into subbing in, Ellis took and made his first shot of the quarter: a 25-foot three-pointer over Kawhi Leonard whose last second attempt at defending the shot proved futile. On the very next possession, he made a jumper from the top of the key. Ellis is up to 22 points and has matched his playoff career-high. But he wasn’t done there.
Before coming to Dallas, Ellis was a volume shooter on mostly bad teams. You knew he’d be called on to take shots in close games with less than two minutes to play in Milwaukee because he had to take the shot in those situations. That’s known as Dirk time in Dallas. You want Nowitzki in an iso position with the game on the line. But what we got instead was a confident Ellis who put the team on his back, including the guy that’s usually putting the squad on his, and decided he just wasn’t going to miss. And miss he did not.
After Ginobili missed a three pointer that would have put the Spurs up by six with 1:47 remaining, Ellis grabbed the board, took it down the court and nailed the 21-footer. New playoff career-high. He then made perhaps the two biggest shots of his Mavericks career following two made free throws by Tim Duncan.
On the next possession, Nowtizki handed it off to Ellis who made a running leaner on the right base line and drew enough contact from Boris Diaw for the and-1. A few possessions later, Ellis got points 28 and 29 as a result of a driving hook shot over Duncan. Yes, the Tim Duncan that has eight inches on Ellis and has been named to 14 All-Defensive teams.
Vince Carter made the shot that everyone will talk about and remember for years to come but it was Monta Ellis that put him in a position to succeed. He got his playoff highs in points, makes, and matched his field goal percentage but what the team got is even more important: a guy that can carry the load when the Big German isn’t feeling it.
After a quiet game one, tallying only 11 points, Ellis has averaged 25 points on 47.6% shooting, 3 assists, 1.5 steals, and showing that he actually does “Have It All.”