DALLAS -- Monta Ellis is quickly showing his new team just how explosive he can be.
The Dallas guard sliced through the Los Angeles Lakers for 30 points in 31 minutes, leading the Mavericks to a comfortable 123-104 victory Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks' backcourt attacked the teeth of the Lakers' defense, routinely getting to the basket for easy looks. No one did it better than Ellis, who hit 11 of 14 shots and also dished out nine assists. He is averaging 23.8 points through four games for Dallas, the team he joined as a free agent in July.
"Monta Ellis was fantastic tonight (in) all aspects of the game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "He defended, he made plays at the rim, he was under control, he hit mid-range shots, he hit guys cutting to the basket. It was a great all-around performance."
The Mavericks (3-1) led by as many as 30 points and were able to rest their starters going into the second leg of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Thunder at Oklahoma City. No other Dallas player logged more than 28 minutes.
"It helps us out a little bit tomorrow night," Carlisle said. "We just have to get out of here, circle the wagons and get ready for that game."
Despite the lack of time, the Mavericks' starters made the most of their minutes, with all five reaching double figures. Power forward Dirk Nowitzki had eight rebounds to go along with his 11 points. The Dallas bench contributed, too, with forward Jae Crowder scoring a career-high 18 points and center DeJuan Blair adding 10 points.
The Lakers (2-3) also were able to give their first team extra rest, if for entirely different reasons, ahead of their visit to Houston for Thursday's showdown against Dwight Howard and the Rockets. After one season in Los Angeles, Howard will face his former team for the first time since shunning the Lakers in free agency.
"Well, we have to put that aside and focus on playing better," Lakers point guard Steve Nash said. "We had a rough night tonight. We got to get to work tomorrow, clear things up, and try to improve before Thursday."
The Lakers continue to struggle offensively without injured guard Kobe Bryant. Reserve guard Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Los Angeles. Power forward Pau Gasol (10 points) was the only starter in double figures. Gasol and Nash combined to shoot 6-for-17.
"We a hard time containing Monta Ellis," Nash said. "He was the in the guts of our defense all night. He was getting easy buckets and creating easy buckets for his teammates all night. He really spaced us out with his penetration.
"We have a lot to learn and improve on. I think we took a step back defensively, and we really have to look at the film and get better there."
Dallas shot 52.1 percent, dominated the boards, 50-35, and handed out 34 assists. The Lakers, who won nine of the previous 10 meeting against the Mavericks, were outscored 52-36 in the paint, and they hit 44.3 percent of their shots while compiling 21 assists.
Ellis was hot early, along with forward Shawn Marion, as Dallas took a 15-point lead in the first quarter. The advantage reached 20 in the second period, and the Mavericks went into the locker room up 67-48.
"We got off to a good start, and we were moving the ball good," Carlisle said. "It's a good win for us."
NOTES: Dallas coach Rick Carlisle agrees with the new delay-of-game rule prohibiting offensive players from touching the ball after it goes through the basket. "It's the right thing," he said. "It's pretty clear. You touch it, you're going to get hit." ... In G Kobe Bryant's absence, Lakers F Pau Gasol is taking a much bigger role in coach Mike D'Antoni's offense. "He's shooting more jumpers in Mike's system, and they do a great job of getting him open looks," Carlisle said. ... Lakers C Chris Kaman spent one mostly forgettable season in Dallas, never meshing with Carlisle. "It's a different coaching style," Kaman said. "Coach Carlisle is uptight and kind of plays games with people a little bit here and there, but Coach D'Antoni is more relaxed and more go-with-the-flow kind of thing."