The Dallas Mavericks front office has a theory that the mere court presence of Dirk Nowitzki can open up spacing on the floor and make life easier for his teammates. There has rarely been more evidence in support of this theory than Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Monta Ellis, who has been simply tearing up the preseason competition thus far, had his first tough game for the Mavericks. Incidentally, this just so happened to be the first game that Dirk has missed as well. Ellis only contributed five points to the win on a dreadful 2-for-10 shooting performance. Ellis also added just two assists while turning the ball over two times.
This adds up to be by far the worst game of Ellis’ short time with the Mavericks so far. In the games that Dirk played, Ellis averaged 13.25 points per game. Over that stretch, he shot over 54 percent from the field, never dipping below 45 percent in any one game.
The Mavericks were still able to win, a testament to how poor the Bobcats are, and to his credit, Ellis was able to still contribute with his defense as he collected five steals.
Sometimes players are just going to have a bad night, and there is nothing that can be done about it. It was encouraging to see Ellis find a way to help his team even when his shot wasn’t there for him, as that is sure to happen at different points throughout the regular season.
However, Dirk’s absence at the same time as Ellis’ stinker just further highlights how important he is to the spacing for the offense, as well as the incredible rapport the two already seem to have. Luckily for the Mavericks, and especially Ellis, Dirk only sat out the game to manage his minutes and isn’t expected to miss any time.