MILWAUKEE -- An awkward moment occurred Saturday night in the jammed hallways of the Bradley Center following the Dallas Mavericks' 91-83 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bucks shooting guard OJ Mayo was trying to negotiate his way through the crowd and reach a friend, and out of a door to the left came Mavs shooting guard Monta Ellis, who accidently bumped into Mayo. Neither player acknowledged each other, and went on their way.
But the irony of the situation is that this was a trading places sort of night for Ellis and Mayo. And they did a lot of bumoing and grinding while trying to get their team to the winner's circle.
Neither player won't acknowledge it, but this game had to mean more to Ellis and Mayo because of where they were drawing their playchecks last season.
Ellis played the last year-and-a-half for the Bucks and signed a three-year, $25 million free agent contract with the Mavs over the summer. Mayo played last season for the Mavs and signed a three-year, $24 million free agent contract with the Bucks over the summer.
But Ellis said in no way was he trying to match Mayo backet for basket Saturday.
"I don't play them games,'' said Ellis, who had 18 points, five assists, three steals and four turnovers. "The only thing I was worrying about was winning and doing what I've been doing the whole season, and that's attacking the basket and finding players.
"I don't get into any of that back-and-forth issues.''
While Ellis was 6-of-14 from the field, Mayo converted 11-of-20 buckets and finished with 28 points,, six rebounds and six turnovers.
"I thought we got off to a good start and it kind of died down towards the end of the first (quarter),'' Mayo said. "We have to kepe our energy.
"We're at home, we get paid millions of dollars to play basketball, so we have to keep our energy. We had a chance to win this game tonight, we just didn't get it done.''
Ellis said nothing about Saturday seemed weird to him. Not being back at the Bradley Center, and certainly not the constant booing he received from the crowd.
"That's part of the buisness,'' Ellis said. "Sometimes is goes that way. It wasn't weird at all.
"When they called my name (in pre-game introductions) and they booed I knew what night it was going to be the whole night. But I said it's part of it, I'm not worried about it.''
-- Dwain Price
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