DALLAS – Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek ran into the same problem many other coaches encounter when they’re playing the Dallas Mavericks.
Those that decide to pay an abundance of attention to Dirk Nowitzki run the risk of Monta Ellis having a field day. Such was the case Saturday night as Ellis tallied 23 of his season-high tying 37 points in the second half of the Mavs’ playoff-clinching 101-98 victory over the Suns.
“Monta was great tonight driving off the pick-and-rolls,’’ Hornacek said. “He was attacking knowing that we were going to show on Dirk.
“We didn’t get back to him quickly.’’
When Ellis wasn’t attacking on the pick-and-rolls, he buried three 3-pointers during a key 17-5 third-quarter rally which helped the Mavs get back into the game. But Hornacek admits that the time his team spent focused on Nowitzki in effect allowed Ellis a bit more breathing room to roam.
“He’s used to that and there are a lot of teams that worry about Dirk,’’ Hornacek said. “He just attacked and made 3-pointers on us.
“He scored 37 and we couldn’t stop him.’’
Overall, Ellis was 15-of-23 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.
-- Dwain Price
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