Coming into the season, Monta Ellis didn’t have a reputation for being a clutch performer. But it wasn’t his fault, as Ellis had never gotten much of an opportunity to play in big games.
With the Golden State Warriors, he was more of a young, up-and-coming player when the Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs years ago. And last year with the Milwaukee Bucks, he had absolutely no help.
But this year? The NBA has gotten to know the real Ellis now that he is on a good team. Ellis is in his prime and on a good team. He’s in his prime playing with one of the greatest players the game has ever seen in Dirk Nowitzki, and the two are one heck of a duo.
Nowitzki, who scored 23 points on just 15 shots, has played with some players who were better than Ellis, but no player has ever complimented Nowitzki’s perimeter game like Ellis. That must feel good for Ellis, and he must have felt good tonight when he dropped 37 points in the Mavericks’ 101-98 nail-biter vs. the Phoenix Suns, which clinched a playoff spot for the Mavericks.
It’s all smiles in the Mavericks’ locker room tonight. The Western Conference is tough, and making the playoffs is something to be proud of. Mark Cuban and company can breathe a sigh of relief as the signing of Ellis has proven to be way more than just fluff for Dallas.
But no one should smile more than Ellis. He’s done getting traded. He’s found a home, in Dallas.