Daily Lies & Statistics: Anyone seen Monta Ellis’ shackles?

Monta Ellis dropped a career-high 45 on the Pacers last night and has gotten a pretty good glimpse of what life is like without having to share the ball with Stephen Jackson or take instruction from Don Nelson. You can say Vladimir Radmanovic makes his teammates that much better, and I say back: Don’t you have a doctor’s appointment, Brian Westbrook?

Ellis is a free man. No Nellie to kill his confidence. No “Jack” thinking he’s the team’s best player and leader. Yeah, this was against Indiana, but Ellis has gone for 34 or more in four of the last five games and is averaging 31.0 per game since the Jackson trade. On top of that, he is averaging a robust 2.6 steals this season to go with over five assists and a nice 47.3 field goal percentage. He’s a monster, and should be great until… well, even when mad scientist Nelson returns from a bout of pneumonia, which could be pretty soon. Even Nellie can’t screw this up, can he? CAN HE?

C.J. Watson warms up prior to last night's game

Don’t answer that. Riddle me this instead: How could Ellis out-score all four of the players I had going last night (Jamaal Tinsley, Corey Maggette, Stephen Curry and Troy Murphy) by a combined 45-33. Yep, it’s that kind of week already and it’s been that kind of year. The only Warriors to really help Monta along were Anthony Morrow and swine-flu patient C.J. Watson, who each had 18 points. I think opponents were giving Watson a clear path to the basket all night due to contamination fears; I don’t see him keeping this up. Unless I continue to start Curry.

Hey, let’s peer at the Indiana side of the box score. It’s actually pretty fascinating. Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points in 23 minutes, and will probably be picked up in a lot of leagues even though most of the other teams he will play will actually defend him. Somehow, Dunleavy’s return and his banishment to the bench didn’t stop Dahntay Jones from continuing to produce. I keep writing about this guy but he won’t stop putting up lines like last night’s 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 2 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block. He even started the second half in place of Brandon Rush. I hope you didn’t drop Jones in the last few days. Elsewhere, T.J. Ford‘s 17-6-4 was actually his best game of the season, which tells you all you need to know about how bad he’s been. Danny Granger owners who circled this Golden State game on their calendars have to be a little numb today as Granger only contributed 22 points and two threes.

Milwaukee edged the Bulls, 99-97, behind a monster line from Andrew Bogut, who apparently tired of seeing the Bogut Signal in the sky, rolled out of bed in his stately manor and got to the arena in time to drop 22 and 15 on Chicago with three steals and four blocks. Chicago was led by double-doubles from both Luol Deng (22 & 14) and Joakim Noah (16 & 17), while John Salmons (23 points, 8-15 FG) implemented a new offensive technique called “aiming at the basket when shooting” to decent success.

The Dallas Mavericks improved to 13-5 by nipping a Philadelphia team that is not yet reeling from signing Allen Iverson. The Sixers got 19 rebounds, three steals and three blocks from one of my waiver wire recommendations last week, Sam Dalembert. You’re welcome. Dallas was led by Tim Thomas, who didn’t play. His teammates hoisted him on his shoulders after the game in honor of this contribution.

Finally, Utah cruised at home over a Memphis team playing without Rudy Gay and Mike Conley. Ronnie Brewer dropped 25 on the Grizz, and Elgin Baylor added a 24-15-7 with three steals and a block. What’s that? Oh, I meant Carlos Boozer. Boozer is playing as well as he ever has right now and is shooting 43-of-59 from the field in his last four.

We’re keeping an eye on the Iverson situation for y’all, as The Answer to the Trivia Question “Who Has Played the Fewest Games in Memphis History?” seems to have tired of the toys he took home to play with. He could sign with Philly by next week, where he’ll gladly mentor and back up Jrue Holiday.

Fans of defense should steer clear of tonight’s Suns-Knicks game, but fantasy owners are licking their chops. Greg will be here tomorrow to dissect it, as well as to wax quixotic about his boy Kiki Vandeweghe now coaching the Nets within mere miles of his residence.

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