NBA Futures

Monta Ellis hits absurd buzzer-beater to lift Mavs over Bucks
2014-12-04

A player previously known as a volume shooter with few contributions in other areas has benefited greatly from being surrounded by other quality scorers and now looks like a dangerous, acceptably efficient guard for the best offense in the NBA. Ellis is a lot more valuable now that no one considers him a first option.

For the most part, though, Monta is the same player who frustrated many observers, particularly when it comes to taking and making bizarre shots made possible only by elite body control. One of his best and most successful examples of such a play came in the final seconds of Wednesday night's game between the Mavs and host Milwaukee Bucks.

With 8.9 seconds on the clock and the score tied at 105-105, Ellis took the inbounds pass and prepared to take the defending O.J. Mayo one-on-one. Mayo did very well and forced Ellis into two help defenders, which presumably would have caused the ballhandler to force a shot or pass to another player who would have very little time to beat the clock. Instead, Ellis spun to his left, took two steps in the same direction, and faded away for a 10.0-degree-of-difficulty shot over Mayo: The stunning finish was upheld after video review and the Mavs left town with a 107-105 win. It initially looked like Ellis might have traveled, but his movement was legal it was just a very odd interpretation of the rules. A running fadeaway out of a spin move just isn't a shot many players will consider, let alone choose to take. It's an incredible play regardless of its impact on the game.

It also marked the second night in a row in which Monta had helped Dallas to a win with some late-game ingenuity. Ellis forced a very foolish foul from Kirk Hinrich in the final seconds of regulation on Tuesday night vs. the Bulls and then hit three free throws to send the game to overtime, where the Mavericks eventually won.

On the other hand, Ellis wasn't especially efficient in either game outside of those two huge moments. With 21 points on 11-of-26 shooting vs. the Bucks, Monta has now scored 61 points on 61 field goal attempts in his last two games. I imagine Dallas will take it.