Mavs Preview: Bucks Here, Promises Fulfilled

DALLAS - In Monta Ellis' last five games, he is averaging 28.4 points per, including a trio of 30--plus-point games. One of those was Friday in Milwaukee. Tonight, the Bucks take another shot at MontaBall in Dallas. Our preview:

Monta Ellis told during Dallas Mavericks training camp that he'd worked all summer to improve his shooting, including everything from the 3, to bank shots, to teardrops. Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler was telling anyone who would listen that he would take it upon himself to morph Dallas into a better rebounding team.

Both promises are being fulfilled.

Monta Ellis is averaging 21.4 points for the season. And just last week alone, he was the hero in Dallas' double-OT win at Chicago and then, on the second night of the back-to-back, in Milwaukee against these same Bucks. Against the Bulls, Ellis hit three free throws to force overtime and made a late 3-pointer in the second OT for Tuesday's 132-129. Against his former Bucks team, in a game in which Dirk Nowitzki sat out, Monta nailed a spinning, long-range fadeaway jumper at the buzzer for Wednesday's 107-105 victory.

"That's an All-Star, flat-out,'' said coach Rick Carlisle.

The same can be said of Tyson Chandler. Dallas' center Tyson Chandler is averaging a double-double at 11.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per. Against the Bucks, he recorded 18 points and 20 rebounds.

But despite TY's effort, Dallas' defense wasn't good in that game, and was frighteningly poor back at home Friday in a loss in which the Mavs allowed a 40-point first quarter to Phoenix.

"We've got to look at the tape and figure it out, but it's been pretty consistent,'' Chandler said of Dallas' defensive struggles. "So, it's a problem that we've got to fix."

Added Carlisle, specific to the Suns game: "When you start out giving up a 40-point first quarter, you're just not ready to play defensively. I take responsibility for the effort. I have got to get these guys more ready to play than I did."

Generally, the Mavs have been "ready'' enough to build a 15-6 record. That mark features the recent 4-0 road trip ... though in the impossibly tough West, that's only good enough for the No. 7 slot in the standings.


The Mavericks are looking to win a fifth straight over the 11-10 Bucks in tonight's early start (6:30 on FOX Sports Southwest), though Milwaukee brings some firepower even without the injured Ersan Ilyasova. Youngsters Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are threats, and Dallas' perimeter woes on defense mean Brandon Knight (who scored 25 against the Mavericks on Wednesday) is trouble.

Dallas Basketball Top Stories