Monta Ellis carried the load in Game 3, Vince Carter sealed the deal.
Not often do you see Dirk Nowitzki go through an offensive struggle during his 16-year career. But statistically, this 2014 Mavs-Spurs first round series isn’t one of Nowitzki’s best playoff series performances.
After three games, Dirk averaged just under 40% shooting from the field which is his second-lowest FG% average of his career in the playoffs (Lowest FG% is 38% in 2007 Mavs-Warriors playoff series).
The Mavericks have relied on Nowitzki for years to win games. This Mavs’ postseason isn’t about Dirk, it’s about “Mr. Have It All” – Monta Ellis. Monta has caught my eye in this series. He has shown that he can takeover in a game when the chips are down and Dirk can’t seem to knock down his trademark shots.
Ellis is averaging 20 points thru three games on 42% shooting from the field and shooting 90% from the free throw line. Monta’s 12-point fourth quarter performance on 5-for-5 shooting ultimately prevented the Spurs from breaking away with the lead in Game 3.
It was Ellis’ powerful 3-point play off a Give-N-Go to tie the game at 102 with 1:10 left. Keep in mind, Monta converted that and-1 off contact from the 200+ pound Boris Diaw. Diaw’s contact forced Ellis to sink the fadeaway basket from behind the backboard on the baseline.
Coach Rick Carlisle has made Ellis a much more efficient player this year compared to his tenure with the Warriors and Bucks. Ellis proved in Game 2 and Game 3 that he can deliver in the fourth quarter when his team needs him the most.
Charles Barkley said during halftime of Game 3 on TNT that “Monta Ellis is right the now the best player of the Mavericks”. Ellis has shown this series that this is his team, with all due respect to Dirk, of course.
Hopefully Dirk can shake off his struggles and help Monta win games 4 and 5.
Video courtesy of YouTube via NBA.com