Pass of the Night: Monta Ellis to Dirk Nowitzki (Video)

Bet you didn’t see that coming. Yep, #MontaEllisHaveItAll’s dish to Dirk Nowtizki is the latest entry into  “Pass of the Night.”

Ellis’ reputation is that of a me-first gunner, who puts up any and every shot he can get. And while there is some truth to that – he certainly does take a lot of shots – he is actually a fairly underrated passer. Through his career he’s averaged nearly 5 assists per game. But once you get the reputation as a chucker – although not unreasonable – it’s hard to shake.

His pass last night might help change that reputation however. Early in the 4th quarter – with the Mavericks on their way to a 111-99 win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies – Ellis took a pass at the top of the key and waited for Nowtizki to come set a screen.

The Grizzlies – to no surprise with Marc Gasol on the floor – do a good job of defending the pick-and-roll. Gasol hedges beautifully, allowing Jerryd Bayless time to recover and then hustles to get back to a cutting Nowtizki. Most of the time, this would have worked, as Gasol actually does a good job of trying to deny a pass.

Ellis however, threads the needle, finding the only opening in which to get Nowtizki the ball. The bounce pass slips right under Bayless’ arms and past Gasol to find the big German for a layup.

(H/T to @HPBasketball for the video)


If you have any suggestions for a pass we should consider, contact me on Twitter (@jmaloney9) or by email at maloneyj(at)xavier.edu.