Monta Ellis got hot on Wednesday evening. Since arriving he’s been a starter for the Milwaukee Bucks, but on Wednesday he was a closer too in Milwaukee’s 107 – 98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s baseball season. Wasn’t that a terrific way to riff on that? It wasn’t? Okay, let’s move on.
Ellis wore a a grin on his face when reporters approached him after the game hungry for his thoughts on an impressive final 4:31 during which he made all eight shots he attempted and rescued what was another rough shooting night. Ellis finished with 30 points on 15-25 shooting. Much better than the 14 points on 7-17 he had turned in before his hot streak.
It wasn’t magic though. Nothing crazy sparked his streak. He didn’t take offense to something the Cavs did or feel inspired to take over the game. He just started making shots and the team stuck with what was working.
“The shots just was going down,” Ellis said after the game. “When it feels like that it feels amazing. Coach had the confidence to keep going to me and I was just making shots.”
Milwaukee ran the same action on every possession over the last four and a half minutes. Pass to Ellis on the wing where he would wait for Ekpe Udoh to set a screen. Then it was on Ellis to shoot, drive or pass once he got into space. He pulled up for short to long jumpers on every possession save one when he attacked and made a one handed shot off the glass. Ellis didn’t have to give much thought to any other options.
“Like Brandon (Jennings) was telling me, ‘Just keep going ’til they stop you,’” he said. “I was just in a zone, I took what the defense gave me. It was the jump shot, I just, knocked it down.”
Scott Skiles appreciated Ellis’s hot streak even if he wasn’t totally satisfied with the Bucks effort against a Cavs team that was without Kyrie Irving.
“He just backed the guys up or came off the pick and roll, rose up and knocked them down,” Skiles said after the game. “He can get in a little bit of a zone like that where you feel like they aren’t going to miss.”
Irving had given the Bucks problems all season with his penetration, but few expected Milwaukee to struggle to contain the likes of Donald Sloan and Lester Hudson. The Cavs guard duo combined for 14 assists against just two turnovers.
“It’s a team we feel like we should handle a little bit easier than we did,” Skiles said. “We won the game, that’s good to see. We made shots. Just had a hard time controlling penetration.”
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. He’d love it if you stopped by every time you wanted to buy something on Amazon and gave him some click-through love on the banner up on the top right. Also he didn’t do grades tonight because he thrives on variety.