I don't know who to be more frustrated with, Monta Ellis or Rick Carlisle. I guess Monta was just being Monta. Rick is the one who left Monta out there while he single-handedly shot Dallas out of its comeback win -- 4-22 from the field. Just ... ugh. I can't even with this shit.
But hey, if you completely ignore Monta blowing everything at the end, this game was actually low key super exciting.
That first half was not fun for a lot of reasons, not least of which was the fact that all of the starters not named Parsons seemed to have forgotten how to play offense. In the first half, Phoenix decided to honor Steve Nash by hitting all the 3s, going 4-4 to start the game. Also, P.J. Tucker went off on Dallas, scoring nine of the Suns' first 11 points and finishing the quarter with 13. Despite all that, the Mavs were somehow still pretty close for most of the quarter. That wouldn't last.
As I hinted at, Dallas looked pretty out of sorts on offense early. This was alleviated briefly by Amar'e and Richard Jefferson, both of whom came off the bench to score 10 and eight points respectively off the bench. But overall, the Dallas offense just couldn't seem to get anything going against the Suns, and slowly but surely the defense suffered because of it. The Mavs shot 34 percent in the first half, while the Suns shot 55 percent.
The third quarter was pretty awesome though. First of all, Monta woke up. While he and Rondo started the quarter missing jumpers left and right, Monta began to settle down with a couple of steals and assists. Then he got fouled a few times, was goal-tended once, and suddenly Monta was back. He was a major part of a huge comeback in the third. Dallas went 14-0 at one point, and outscored Phoenix 33-19 in the frame to whittle away at what was at one point a 17-point lead all the way down to one.
Amar'e gave the Mavs the lead on the first possession of the first and the Mavs really took off from there. Surprisingly, Raymond Felton was a big part of a few plays in the fourth, drilling a three and shortly thereafter drawing a big charge. While Dallas did a lot to get themselves back in it, Phoenix helped by going through a huge scoring drought through the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth. Some of that was better defense, driven (as usual) by some fantastic Aminu effort.
But it wouldn't be fair to give the Mavs all the credit for the comeback. They fought hard, but also, the Suns kind of just fell apart. Even when the Mavs' comeback stalled offensively, the Suns couldn't do anything to take advantage. I felt like most of the fourth quarter involved an 86-80 score. It was honestly really nice to be on the other end of something like this. Except then it wasn't.
Who else was super frustrated with the nerve-wracking ending? Despite having all the momentum, some really really bad shots by Monta to brought the comeback to a screeching halt. And Phoenix kept trying to help Dallas out, but Monta just kept jacking bad shots anyway. Leading me to shout more than once at the television, "Hey Rick, why don't you maybe bench Monta while you try to win this game?"
But of course, he didn't. And we all know how that went.
Some more thoughts:
- What can I say about Monta Ellis? He was just terrible in the first half. He is never great on defense, but he was just awful tonight. And he didn't make up for it at all on offense, going 0-6 until he finally hit a buzzer-beating runner to end the first half.
- Then Monta completely flipped the script in for quarter, almost literally having it all in the second. He had steals, assists, and points. He drew a key charge with under 7 left to go. Monta was having it all.
- Then there was too much Monta. Monta couldn't hit a shot to save his life in the fourth. He was even worse than in the first half. And yet Rick Carlisle just left him out there to ruin everything. Is there another player on the roster he would leave out there despite shooting that poorly? I can't even you guys. I just can't.
- Chandler Parsons was (again) Dallas's only consistently good offensive player tonight. And yet he didn't really get the ball at all in the fourth.
- For that matter, neither did Dirk. Or Rondo. Or Jefferson. Or Aminu. Or ANYONE BUT MONTA FREAKING ELLIS BECAUSE MONTA TOOK ALL THE SHOTS AND MISSED ALL OF THEM.
- Completely aside from the Monta stuff, this was a really really rough game. The Mavs shot 39 percent overall, and 26 percent from 3. And they were a complete tire fire on the line late in the game.