Warriors Beat Trailblazers 109-102, Monta Ellis Delivers Christmas Miracle Of A Win

The Trailblazers come to town like Santa does on X-mas morning. Check back for more updates on tonight's game as well as Golden State of Mind's Game Thread for more chatter.

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Warriors 109, Trail Blazers 102 - Monta Ellis Is The "Christmas Miracle"

With 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter and the Warriors up 5, I was waiting for the Warriors signature meltdown. Even after the Warriors got 3 consecutive solid defensive stops in a row — the first time possibly all season — with the Warriors up 7 with a minute left, I still felt that mini-Dwyane Wade, Marquette alum Wesley Matthews, was going to will his team to victory as he almost did (25 points, 9-18 shooting). But in non-Warriors fashion, the Warriors actually won the game. It truly was a “Christmas Miracle,” yelled my sister 3 times in a row sitting next to me on the couch.

Indeed.

Monta Ellis finished with 39 points on an array of dazzling layups and dunks, which San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Rusty Chronicle Tweeted:

Rusty_SFChron Rusty Simmons
That Monta Ellis dunk had some “This game is on national TV” lift to it.

With the Warriors surging to an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter, Monta Ellis hit a deep two from the top of the key and then picked off Rudy Fernandez pass to Wesley Matthews for a swooping layup on the other end. Ellis limped his way to the bench after putting the Warriors up by 7.

You could probably hear a collective sigh of relief across the bay area when Ellis told ESPN commentator and overly-tanned-in-the-winter Ric Bucher that his ankle was just ‘tweaked.’

The Warriors collectively racked up 31 assists with Stephen Curry and Ellis accounting for 18. Another amazing stat? The Warriors only missed 2 free throws for 90.5%.

Who are these Warriors? Are we watching a legitimate NBA team?

No. Not really. The Warriors were still out-rebounded 53-32. Ekpe Udoh didn’t contribute much in the rebounding department for the second game in a row. But, more importantly, Udoh offered some interior presence, collecting 3 blocks for the third straight game.

David Lee finally found his stroke, having one of his best shooting games all season, netting 21 points on 8-11 of shooting. He also chipped in 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Shooting 6-9 and connecting 4-4 from 3-point territory, Dorell Wright finished with 16 points along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Reggie Williams came off the bench to score 9 points, hitting a key 3-pointer during the Warriors decisive 11-0 fourth quarter run.

Notes…

The Warriors wore red shoes and green socks to celebrate Christmas…LaMarcus Aldridge had a sore right wrist from “dunking” so much his last 4 games. Lee managed to hold Aldridge to 15 points.

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End of 3rd: Warriors Down 80-78 To Blazers, Interesting Stats

The Warriors are only down 2 and want to know what the key stat is? The Warriors only have 5 turnovers.

Yes, only 5 turnovers.

This is all while the Portland Trailblazers are outrebounding the Warriors 43-20. Imagine what this would be like had the Warriors limited the Blazers offensive rebounds by half. They have 19 offensive rebounds…

You do the math.

What’s more interesting? The Warriors are actually passing. They have 27 assists compared to the Blazers. Stephen Curry has 10 of those assists in less than 25 minutes. Too bad Curry needs some time to get his stroke back (2-11).

Monta Ellis leads the Warriors with 29 points. Elis went a bit cold in the third, making only 2 of 6 shots. David Lee is having a great night with 19 points on 7-10 shooting.

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Halftime: Warriors 56, Trailblazers 57, Monta Ellis Says They Don't Know What To Do With HIm

Monta Ellis has 24 points on 9-17 shooting, but oddly has only made 1 out of his last 5 shots. But, this doesn’t mean Ellis hasn’t been able to get to any shot he’s wanted to on the court. From any spots on the court, Ellis looks as if he could get to the hoop with each shot more circusy than the next.

At half when Rich Bucher interviewed Monta Ellis (with lots of awkward camera shots of the Oracle hallways), Ellis replied (and I am paraphrasing), “they don’t really know what to do with me.” And later, Ellis humbly said (paraphrasing) that he owed it to his teammates “setting great screens.”

This was all after ESPN color commentator Fran Fraschilla said that Ellis was considered “selfish” earlier in his career. I think we could all agree he had his Kobe Bryant moment when Kobe took over the Lakers without Shaq.

But you can bet the Trailblazers will make adjustments at halftime to shut down Ellis the same way the Warriors figured that they needed to body up Andre Miller with Rodney Carney and not the currently defensively vulnerable Stephen Curry.

Both Carney and Ekpe Udoh have been offensively negligible so far (2 points between them). But both of them have been solid defensively in the second half. Udoh in particularly prevented the Trailblazer bigs from getting easy second chance points in the paint, which Louis Amundson, Dorell Wright, and David Lee have struggled to do. As mentioned in earlier, Udoh had two blocks within one possession, the lone interior presence that made Blazer bigs think twice about going up in the paint.

Wesley Matthews leads the Blazers with 11 points and Andre Miller has 10 points and 7 assists so far. Stephen Curry already has 8 assists in just 15 minutes.

UPDATE: Trailblazers have 30 rebounds, Warriors 11

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ESPN's Fran Fraschilla Calls Ekpe Udoh "No Mistakes"

In the middle of the ESPN Portland Trailblazers versus Golden State Warriors broadcast at the juncture where Warriors rookie got the ball on the left block, ESPN color commentator Fran Fraschilla called Ekpe Udoh a “no mistakes” kind of player.

Fraschilla had a lot of nice things to say about Udoh, even as Udoh bricked the shot (not a bad though). On the opposite end, Udoh was the only Warriors athletic enough to bat an alley-oop away from the dunk happy Blazers. Udoh, defensively, has provided the only protection in the paint with two nice blocks within the same Blazers possession.

Monta Ellis looks like he is on his way to another 40+ point outing with 18 points already. David Lee is finally getting his long range stroke back, netting 3 jumpers from 20 feet out so far this game. Can the Warriors finally start getting more offensive consistency and more contributions from people not named Monta Ellis?

Other shocking stat? 5-6 on freethrows and 5-10 from 3 point land.

The Blazers lead the Warriors 49-46.

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Trailblazers 28, Warriors 25 - All I Want For X-Mas Is Rebounds

The Warriors are losing the battle of hustle and that hasn’t faired well for them after the first quarter. The Trailblazers look much more active on the boards, the second chance points giving them the edge so far. They have already amassed 14 rebounds, 6 of them offensive. The Warriors? 6 rebounds TOTAL.

Luckily, the Warriors are shooting a scintillating, for them, 3-4 from the free throw line. Even better? The Warriors have managed to NOT foul their opponents; the Blazers have not taken a foul shot at all.

Stephen Curry’s return was rather ho-hum than ho-ho-ho. Probably still getting his legs back after 2.5 weeks off, Curry sat out early on in the first quarter after 2 points and 3 assists after 6 minutes.

The Warriors are without Andris Biedrins, Dan Gadzuric, and Charlie Bell. As Marcus Thompson Tweets, that leaves Brandan Wright and Ekpe Udoh as the only two bigs off the bench. I guess the Warriors were not so lucky on X-Mas. The Warriors could use Udoh’s hustle.

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