Monta Ellis – Superhero Ball

The skeptic in me finds things to worry about immediately in most every situation. This one was no different.

Would Monta Ellis, he of the 25 point fourth quarter thanks in large part to a five for five effort from three, continue to think that taking five threes in a game is a good thing? He hadn’t hit more than two threes in a game this calendar year before Sunday afternoon. It seems a recipe for disaster, his short lived shooting prowess.

And why did the Milwaukee Bucks need such heroics to beat the Orlando Magic at home? The Magic had two wins in January, two in February and two in March coming into Sunday’s game. Yet they held a double digit lead over the Bucks in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Milwaukee was on the ropes, grasping them for balance while sucking wind. Then they landed a few haymakers and toppled a weaker opponent. That’s not an ideal strategy for winning games.

Speaking of strategy, when did this team start caving in so bad on the defensive end? Yeah, the Bucks have taken some big steps forward on offense over the past few months, but it feels like they’ve taken the same steps backwards on the other end. Once stout defensively, Milwaukee’s quickly heading towards the middle of the pack in defensive rating at a time they can hardly afford to do so.

Hell, I was even worried about hero ball. Would the hot streak only encourage more of it the rest of the season? That’s not a recipe for long term success.

All of this was on my mind Sunday.

But sometimes, it’s okay to just let that stuff slip away and watch someone like Ellis go berserk on the opposition. Never one to lack confidence, Ellis had the look of a guy who was ready to pull-up as soon as he got past half court late Sunday afternoon. It’s a special thing when a guy starts feeling himself that much. What’s incredible is how much space he was getting from the Magic.

On the three that made it 104-102 Orlando, Tobias Harris gave Ellis about two steps, even though he’d just knocked down his last three threes. Maybe Harris was playing the percentages: What were the odds that a shooter like Ellis would be able to continue hitting threes? But he wasn’t even close enough to bother Monta’s shot. Same with Arron Afflalo on the game sealing three that put Milwaukee up four. Ellis had more than a step of room each time.

On Sunday, in the fourth quarter, Monta Ellis looked like he could have started shooting left-handed, off one foot, with a blindfold on. He was pretty much a superhero on the court, when the Bucks needed one more than ever.

Maybe being a hero won’t work every time, but the Bucks can work on not needing one in the future. No need to worry about what worked so well Sunday.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in…

9 Comments

  1. Both are generally smart defenders, and neither one of them are quick enough to defend the quick slash to the basket, so they gave him room. We also only needed a 2 to take the lead.

  2. happyfeethustle

    Of course….no local television for this “once in a lifetime” outburst
    from Ellis. Sure, he may score 39 or more in other contests-but we will never see this kind of 3 point BURST in so few minutes again. Happy the Bucks beat the Magic ( so we dont have to CRY over Tobias); who fouled out by the way- ELATED that the fans who came out on a Sunday were rewarded with such a THRILLING win!!!!!!!!!!!

    I dont believe Ellis will change his outlook after this performance-he hasn’t been shy about shooting in the 1st place. We have all had ‘special’ days where you just cant seem to do any wrong-CONGRATS to Monta :)

    Quick ? for everyone… Whose team is this. Brandon’s? Larry’s? Im seeing a change in face of the franchise last 4 weeks-how about you?

    GO Bucks GO

  3. The Bucks need to focus on one big thing if it wants to accomplish anything of worth this season. Boylan needs to insist that Jennings and Monta (and occassionally Ersan) do EVERYTHING in their power to keep the guy they are guarding out of the paint. STOP trying to steal th ball on every position and stay in front of your guy!!

    Even with Sanders behind them their perimeter defense is a joke and the biggest reason the team’s defense is caving with regularity.

    Want to win? Play legitimate perimeter defense.

    • I would agree that playing legitimate perimeter defense would be amazing, however, it is nearly impossible to do in today’s NBA. There are very very few guys who can legitimately guard a PG straight up, your positioning has to be absolutely perfect and even then the refs will probably whistle you for a foul for contact. Point guard defense is team defense. I don’t like it that way but it’s just how it is these days. A lot of point guards can’t run through screens and can’t get into position playing on ball defense, it’s really nearly impossible. Once the PG gets by the first defender the interior defense must be stout, of course when it is they will kick it out to a shooter on the perimeter and you have to stay on those guys (Mike Dunleavy stop helping please) or they will knock down a shot. I also would love to see more intensity out of Jennings and Ellis, well everyone needs to pick it up besides Larry, as I believe they can improve out there as well. Ers can’t do anything out there defensively either.

  4. It is a dilemma!

    First of all, I want to give Monta his
    due for a magnificent outburst! To be
    able to carry his super-surge all the way
    through to the end for a win is amazing.
    Standing O!

    However…in the Denver game not all that
    long ago Monta was driving me nuts because
    he kept shooting and shooting and mostly
    missing and missing. I’m not saying he should’ve
    stopped shooting altogether, but he was
    really forcing the issue when he really wasn’t
    on his game. It seems very irresponsible and maybe
    even somewhat disrespectful to his teammates.

    It is interesting to consider what in the
    world is going on with the Bucks defense.
    To say that they are in the middle of the
    pack seems generous. How much of this is
    lack of effort?

    Even the lowly Tobias Harris scored 14 points
    on only 8 shots. Can’t forget about Tobias!
    One thing I like about him is that he seems
    to like to shoot but also seems to show good
    restraint in his shot attempts. He’s confident,
    but he also tries to work with his teammates.

    I hope the Bucks do a better job at coaching up
    and appreciating John Henson, who seems to be
    getting lost in the substitution shuffle. I’d
    like to seem him get 15-30 minutes per game.

    • Harris has been playing lights out for Orlando since the trade, that’s why he starting for them now. He basically played his way into the starting lineup.

      Ellis has had a much better shooting percentage since the Redick trade and I don’t think he’ll start jacking up 5-6 3’s per game now that he was red hot for one game.

      He seems to understand stepping in a couple a feet greatly improved his shooting percentage the past few weeks. Plus, he best attribute is slashing to the basket.

      To answer an earlier question, I would easily say this is Ellis’ team now!

  5. the Bucks are who they are. w/o Monta scoring they lose. Monta won that game for them last night and he had to. Monta has been playing great since Redick joined the team and Jennings started being an actual PG. the problem w/ the Bucks is weak perimeter defense. Monta, Jennings and Redick just arent stout defenders and never will be. offensively there is no low post option. the guards have to generate all of the offense. still fun to watch when a player gets in the zone like that

  6. Where as Jennings shooting overall shooting percentage and 2 point shooting percentage are both in the low .405 area, Monta’s 2 pt. shooting percentage is a very respectable .462.

    Ellis’ 3 point percentage, even with today’s performance, is still in the .250 area, so I don’t see him changing his game base on this outstanding performance.

  7. On the Orlando Magic version of this website,
    there’s a highly positive and yet understated
    article by Jacob Frankel on the strong play of
    Tobias Harris.

    The relevance of this going forward is to make
    sure the Bucks make good decisions about their
    players in the future. After about 10 seasons
    of mediocrity at best for the Bucks, I think we
    should be ready to evaluate the evaluators, that
    is to take a hard look at the management, from
    owner to GM to coach.

    I have serious concerns about how our current
    players have been handled, on and off the court,
    including Larry, John and Brandon. Let’s make sure
    our guys our being treated right!