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Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm, Tony Jones: @Tjonessltrib

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Dirk and Monta are a 'pick your poison' pick-and-roll duo

Monta Ellis' move to Dallas wasn't exactly celebrated around the league.

The former Golden State and Milwaukee guard was supposed to be too selfish too willing to shoot without conscience to be effective on a winner. But with the Mavericks in a playoff push, Ellis' play has been key in their success.

Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki's pick-and-roll combination has been particularly potent. The Mavs' .91 points per pick-and-roll plays is good for sixth best in the NBA. The Mavericks use PnR in more than a third of their offensive possessions, according to SynergySports. Ellis is a pick-and-roll ball handler for more than 46 percent of his plays. "Monta's an attacker. He don't need much space to be able to get down the lane to hit the shot," Jazz coach Ty Corbin says. "Dirk's always going to have a guy close to him. You put those two guys in a pick and roll and you have to pick your poison."

Ellis leads the league at 7.3 points per game on drives, according to the NBA's SportsVU numbers. He's second in the league when it comes to team points off drives at 12.2 a game.

And all Nowitzki is doing (at 35 years old, mind you) is hitting on 49 percent of his shots. His 525 points on catch-and-shoot attempts are second most in the league behind Klay Thompson.


"We talked about it before the shootaround and they're one of the best in the league right now at it," Gordon Hayward said. "They both are extremely good scorers, provide a lot of problems. It's going to be on not only the guys defending that but the weak-side guys as well with rotations. And we're going to have to mix it up. We can't give them the same look the whole night."

Jazz vs. Mavericks

Tipoff » 7 p.m.
TV » ROOT Sports
Radio » 97.5 FM, 1280 AM
Records » Jazz 22-42; Mavericks 38-27
— Aaron Falk

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