Ever since the Bucks acquired J.J. Redick in a deal at the trade deadline, Monta Ellis has had space. Space to dribble, space to drive, space to shoot. Mostly just space. Part of the change is that Redick occupies a defender further from the hoop, opening up the lane. The other part is simply that Ellis himself has fed off the confidence from that space and gone thermo-dynamic with it.
To that end, Monta blew up the Jazz with a series of breathtaking layups.
For starters, there’s Monta’s favorite move: dribble right and keep taking right until someone stops you. In this case, no one stopped him.
Here’s a hard-left, double-clutch and finish right move:
Here’s the one most people will talk about today: a backdoor cut leading to a 360-degree spinning finish. I’m not the biggest fan of the spin move, but he successfully completes the crowd pleaser. The only layup I remember him missing also came on a backcut off a screen. It was a failed alley-oop — a pleasingly aggressive and greedy move by the Bucks even in failure.
Finally, here’s one from the very beginning of the game: a stop-and-spin reverse layup earned of one of Brandon Jennings’ 17 assists.
These shots didn’t all occur with the floor-spreading trio of Ilyasova/Dunleavy/Redick sharing the court with Ellis. However, Ellis gained confidence playing the point with that threesome, and his dogged pursuit of the rim has spilled over to his play in every other combination of lineup.
Now he just needs to keep it up.