DALLAS (AP) – Monta Ellis provided an emphatic rebuttal Tuesday night to a dismal performance 48 hours earlier.
Ellis matched his season high with 38 points and the Dallas Mavericks rallied in the second half to defeat the San Antonio Spurs 101-94.
Ellis hit 16 of 27 shots, bouncing back from his 4-for-22 showing Sunday in a loss at Phoenix. In that game, he went 0-for-8 in the fourth quarter as Dallas’ six-point lead vanished down the stretch.
“Too much Monta tonight, don’t you think?” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “The fact that we got in transition got him some easy buckets early and got him rolling.”
Ellis said his shooting was simply taking what the defense gave him.
“Everybody was juiced up,” he said. “We came out very aggressive. They made their run, and we made our run.”
Dirk Nowitzki collected 15 points and 13 rebounds and Chandler Parsons added 15 for the Mavericks.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 19 points and Danny Green added 17.
The victory pulled Dallas within percentage points of sixth-place San Antonio in the Western Conference.
“I think we started out well,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “After that, it was the Mr. Ellis show. We just couldn’t contain him.”
That’s nothing new this season. Ellis is averaging 34 points in three games against the Spurs.
He wasted little time putting Sunday’s outing behind him, scoring seven points in the opening 3:05.
Ellis was assessed a technical foul midway through the third quarter, thinking he was fouled on an unsuccessful drive, the Spurs leading 54-53. He then hit a 3-pointer that sparked a 23-12 Mavericks run for the rest of the period and a 76-66 advantage.
“We changed defenses (on Ellis),” said the Spurs’ Tim Duncan, who had just six points and rebounds and sat out the fourth period. “We went back and forth. But he had a night, and those are situations where we can do what we can do. But if we’re making shots, we can kind of counter that a little bit.”
In the first period, the Spurs shot 52 percent and scored 13 points off turnovers and committed none themselves in taking a 29-17 lead. After that, San Antonio only 38.3 percent and allowed 19 points off turnovers.
Following Dallas’ loss at Phoenix, Carlisle questioned his team’s soul.
“Everybody kept digging in,” he said of Tuesday’s effort. “Everybody kept believing in what we were doing, believing in each other, encouraging each other.”
Dallas’ Tyson Chandler added: “We have to play the type of basketball for the makeup of our basketball team – small, quick, athletic guards that play well in transition.”
The Mavericks lead the season series two games to one with the remaining meeting this Friday in San Antonio.
Dallas is 33-0 when leading after three periods, the only NBA team undefeated in that category.
The 13 rebounds was one short of Nowitzki’s season high and give him 10,004 in a 17-year career.
The Mavericks swept both home games from San Antonio this season. But in their 99-93 victory in late December, the following Spurs didn’t play: Duncan, Leonard, Green, Ginobili, Tony Parker and Patty Mills.
Spurs: Manu Ginobili scored seven points and played 16 minutes after missing the previous four games with a sprained right ankle. … The loss dropped San Antonio back to .500 on the road (18-18).
Mavericks: On Monday, Nowitzki’s wife gave birth to the couple’s second child, their first boy. … Richard Jefferson left in the second quarter with back spasms.
Spurs: Host Oklahoma City on Wednesday to complete their second back-to-back within nine days.
Dallas: At San Antonio on Friday.