Monta Over Mayo & Mavs Over Bucks

Milwaukee fans hooted at former Bucks standout Monta Ellis. Mavs fans watching and listening probably did the same to O.J. Mayo. But in the end Saturday, the winner was Monta and the Mavs as he scored 18 in a 91-83 victory at Milwaukee.

The Dallas Mavericks kept their head above the .500 water with the win, propelled by Ellis' 18 points and five assists, part of an imperfect night for a Dallas team that owned a 55-40 halftime lead, gave up a 17-4 third-quarter run, and survived in part because of a late Mayo turnover.

This is familiar territory for Mavs fans, who last year saw Mayo - a centerpiece of the failed "One-Year Contract Experiment" - rejuvenate his career in Dallas ... even with the turnover pockmarks.

It is said that the Mavs somehow spurned Mayo. That is not exactly so; his time in Dallas is a success in that it resulted in him doubling the $4-mil deal he signed to play under Carlisle. And O.J. Had 28 points here, hardly a failure.

Mayo kept his Bucks alive in this one as Dallas hung on to a four-point edge with 2:23 remaining when Mayo committed a costly turnover. Dirk Nowitzki (16 points and now just 14 shy of topping Jerry West for 16th on the all-time scoring list) hit a turnaround jumper with 1:46 left to give the Mavs an 87-81 lead and Dallas held on from there.

Did Mayo feel anything special in this game?

"Nothing," Mayo said. "Just another game on the schedule."

This game on the schedule ends the Mavericks' three-game roadie and a demanding four-games-in-five-days gauntlet. Dallas is 4-3 -- and that represents a positive change from the Mayo-era Mavs who could never quite get over the .500 hump.

The embodiment of the change, of course, is Monta. This marked the first time back in Milwaukee for Ellis, who signed with Dallas as a free agent in the offseason after playing for the Bucks. Milwaukee fans do not seem to remember him fondly.

"I knew I was going to get something out there," Ellis said of the fans' abuse. "When they called my name and they booed, I knew what (kind of) night it was going to be. Like I said, `It's part of it. I'm not worried about it."

Ellis is now averaging 22.9 points per game (and is among the candidates for "The Dirkie.") He had help here from Shawn Marion (14 points and 10 rebounds). Another Buck-turned-Mav, center Sam Dalembert, had six points and six rebounds. Caron Butler, a member of Dallas' 2011 title team, scored 19 for his hometown Bucks.

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