Warriors Get First Road Win, Defeat Raptors, 109-102

Golden State holds on in Toronto.

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NBA Scores and Standings: Mapping the Western Conference - November 9, 2010

SB Nation Bay Area is introducing a new segment of Warriors' coverage, "Mapping the Western Conference," which will help keep you up to date on the state of the Warriors, their division foes and the Western Conference's ever-changing playoff picture.

On Tuesday there were two games involving Pacific Division teams.

The Clippers (1-7) continued their slide and lost 101-82 at the New Orleans Hornets (7-0). Clippers rookie F Al-Farouq Aminu notched the best game of his young career, leading all scorers with 20 points to go along with 8 boards, 2 assists, and 2 steals. The Hornets mounted a balanced attack with 6 players reaching double figures. Backup shooting guard Willie Green led the way with 16.

The injury woes continued for the Clippers as C Chris Kaman sprained his left ankle during the game. No word on how long he'll be out. And while Baron Davis made his return to the court after missing the previous 4 games with a sore left knee, leading scorer Eric Gordon sat out Tuesday's game with a left shoulder injury. Backup G Randy Foye also missed his 6th straight game due to a sore left hamstring. (This, of course, goes without saying that Clippers Nation continues to hold its breath any time Blake Griffin crashes the floor for a loose ball.)

Since upsetting the OKC Thunder last Wednesday, the Clips have dropped 3 in a row and new coach Vinny Del Negro's crew is no doubt searching for positives in a mostly ugly start to the young season.

Meanwhile, the Lakers took care of business against the surprisingly feisty T-Wolves, improving to 8-0 on the season with a 99-94 victory and upping their division lead to 2.5 games over the Warriors. Kobe Bryant led the way with 33 points.

In other Western Conference action, the Nuggets (4-4) fell to the Pacers, 144-113, after Indiana somehow dropped 54 points to Denver's 27 in the 3rd quarter. Mike Dunleavy led all scorers with 31 while first-year Pacers PG Darren Collison added 29.

The Jazz (4-3) mounted a massive comeback from 22 down to beat the Heat in Miami in OT, 116-114. Big man Paul Millsap took advantage of Miami's lack of size on his way to a ridiculous 46-point night. The Trailblazers (6-3) cruised to a 100-78 victory over the Pistons, with LaMarcus Aldridge notching a 19-point, 17-rebound game.

Check back here tomorrow after the Warriors go for their second road win of the season at the Knicks.Wednesday's games featuring Western Conference teams:

Golden State (5-2) @ New York (3-4). David Lee and Ronny Turiaf take on their former teams, respectively.

Utah (4-3) @ Orlando (5-1). Can Millsap come up big again, against Dwight Howard and Co.?

Houston (1-5) @ Washington (1-4). The good news: someone will emerge with 2 wins. The bad news: someone will "emerge" with 2 wins.

Philadelphia (2-5) @ Oklahoma City (3-3). Philly's Jrue Holiday is on fire, averaging 18.3 over his last 4.

Dallas (4-2) @ Memphis (4-4). Rudy Gay is averaging 26.5 PPG.  Dirk is averaging 25.7. $5 says Dirk wins this battle by the end of the season. Anyone?

LA Clippers (1-7) @ San Antonio (5-1). Can Coach Vinny rally the Clips against the franchise that saw most of his playing days?

Minnesota (1-7) @ Sacramento (3-3). The Kings look to rebound from their home loss to the Grizzlies.

At the end of Tuesday night, here's what Mapping the Western Conference looks like:

W

L

Pct

GB

LA Lakers

8

0

1.000

--

New Orleans

7

0

1.000

0.5

San Antonio

5

1

.833

1.5

Portland

6

3

.667

2.0

Golden State

5

2

.714

2.0

Dallas

4

2

.667

2.5

Utah

4

3

.571

3.0

Memphis

4

4

.500

3.5

Denver

4

4

.500

3.5

Sacramento

3

3

.500

3.5

Oklahoma City

3

3

.500

3.5

Phoenix

3

4

.429

4.0

Houston

1

5

.167

5.5

Minnesota

1

7

.125

6.5

LA Clippers

1

7

.125

6.5

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Golden State of Mind Link Dump With Video Recaps + Monta Ellis' Concerning Injury And +/-

One of the greatest things about the Golden State of Mind link dumps immediately after the game is the video coverage. In case you couldn’t watch the game, IQofaWarrior will post a video, in case someone made one, from youtube that comprehensively distills all the greatest moments from the game into a tight 5 minute package. What’s so great about that? You don’t have to witness the 3rd and 4th quarter meltdowns in their entirety. In fact, with videos like this, you never even notice that the Warriors almost let this one get away since you’re too busy jaw dropping to the amazing Stephen Curry highlights. I would focus on that if I were you. For comprehensive linkage of last night’s win of the Toronto Raptors, click here. If that isn’t enough, catch the Golden State of Mind recap of the game.

One of the strange stats to pop up from last night’s game is Monta Ellis’ +/- rating. I hate to bag on a dude who literally sacrificed his body last night to help close out the win. But Ellis has the worst +/- ranking among the starting 5 with a -4. Stephen Curry was a +13.

I’m not bringing this up to instigate anything. But for anyone who watched last night’s game could see how despite the monster stat line by Ellis, his shot selection or shot conscious disappeared with Curry when Curry sat out for rest or for his ankle.

Perhaps Ellis felt it necessary to put the team on his back early in the fourth quarter when the Raptors starting mounting their lead and Curry sitting out to rest. But Ellis had a team high 6 turnovers and several came during this time on either a few questionable charge calls and poor drives into traffic (like the questionable no-call which Ellis landed awkwardly).

Ellis reverted back to the seemingly “selfish” Ellis of last season, in the fourth quarter dribbling out the clock on several occasions for circus-shot drives, which many of them went in. He, too, was relatively efficient from the floor (10-17) and the line (7-9). But during that brief stretch without Curry, it almost looked as if his teammates didn’t exist.

When Curry checked back in and suddenly took it upon himself to save the Warriors, scoring on an amazing array of floaters in the lane through nifty dribble hesitation and penetration, Ellis played the willing shooting guard, allowing Curry to set him up for a few easy buckets.

I’m not sure what it is, but perhaps this is a reflection of Ellis’ trust in Curry that he might not have with his teammates, fully, in Curry’s absence. Hopefully Ellis’ injury is negative.

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Recap: Warriors 109, Raptors 102 - Curry Dominates In Fourth, But Warriors Lose Monta Ellis To Injury Late

Yahoo! Boxscore - Warriors 109, Raptors 102

When the Warriors players described the Utah Jazz grind-out win, they talked proudly about how unlike last season, they’re not giving up so early in the game when opponents make their runs against them.

Well, the last two road games have been exemplary of this new attitude, except the Warrior have struggled to actually close out games. Instead of giving up, the Warriors are letting their opponents creep back into games.

But after blowing a 17 point lead, the Warriors didn’t let this one slip away, defeating the Toronto Raptors 109-102 and getting their first road win (including preseason) since last season’s finale against the Portland Trailblazers. Perhaps they won’t be blowing bad teams out, but at least they won.

Baby steps.

After sitting comfortably by 17 midway through the 3rd quarter behind the backcourt bromance of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, the Warriors continue to shoot themselves in the foot with yet another lapse in concentration as they collectively began to turn the ball over much like the night before in Detroit. Telegraphed passes and several questionable charge calls against Ellis, Curry, and David Lee helped get the Raptors back in the game. In the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, the Warriors committed 6 turnovers.

But Stephen Curry, after re-tweaking his ankle on a dribble drive in the second quarter, became "The Closer" as if he was Kyra Sedgwick. With an array of spin moves, jumpers, cross-overs, runners…whatever button you press on your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 controller to do an amazing move, Curry scored in almost every which way possible on every single Toronto defender. Curry nailed a jumper with Jarrett Jack’s hand in his face, extending the lead lead once against to seven with less than a minute safely securing the Warriors first road win. Curry finished with 34 points with the bulk of this points coming in the final quarter. But he also had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.

In spite of their first road win, it may be bittersweet. The Warriors are currently waiting to hear about Ellis’ injury evaluation. Driving to the basket late in the fourth, Ellis’ missed his reverse and landed awkwardly on his feet but with his back arched completely horizontal to the floor. As the Raptors raced in the opposite direction, Ellis laid motionless until the Warriors called timeout. Trainer Tom Abdenour helped Ellis off the court but it was clear that he could not walk or stand on his own. Rusty Simmons Tweets that it may be a left hip issue whereas Marcus Thompson Tweets its might be a hyperextended knee or leg just based on their observations.

Up until then, Ellis and Curry had been leading the Warriors scoring. In the end, they accounted for 62 points on 22 of 38 shooting. The Warriors were winning the battle of the boards in the first half, controlling the tempo with offensive rebounding. The Warriors finished the game shooting 53%, a huge improvement over the last two games.

Off the bench, Sonny Weems provided a much needed spark off the bench for a lackadaisical Toronto team. For most of the game, former number one pick Andrea Bargnani was completely ineffective on both ends of the floor (1 rebound) and Linus Kleiza and Jarret Jack struggled to find their stroke as well. But Weems found some easy buckets in transitions, in large part due to the Warriors poor passing, which seem to ignite his fellow teammates. The Warriors defensive effort quickly disappeared as they allowed the Raptors to draw fouls on dribble drives, fouling out David Lee and putting Andris Biedrins in foul trouble as well.

Leandro Barbosa also got in on the action late in the game, finishing with 7 points. Linus Kleiza also contributed during the fourth quarter surge, ending with 20 points and 7 boards.

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