monta ellis

This is no passing fancy.

At least the Milwaukee Bucks seriously hope not.

They are sharing the ball at a breathtaking pace during their six-game winning streak, piling up assists and leaving opposing defenses dazed and confused.

Those 35 assists against Portland in a 29-point runaway on Tuesday night?

Just more of the same for a Bucks team with suddenly serious designs on an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Newcomer Monta Ellis led the way with nine assists and fueled a game-breaking run early in the third quarter to silence the Rose Garden crowd.

“He hasn’t surprised us,” said Bucks coach Scott Skiles. “He goes to the open man, and I think to his credit, he’s also trying to fit in.

“There are going to come moments when we’re going to need him to take the ball and go get baskets. He’s certainly capable of doing that.

“But he’s really making good reads. He’s hitting big guys diving to the goal. He’s hitting bigs on pick-and-pop. He’s spreading the ball around. He’s playing really well.”

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of theĀ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel