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Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Manu Ginobili led a balanced attack with 20 points and seven assists, as San Antonio rolled past Golden State, 113-102. Tim Duncan totaled 16 points and seven rebounds, Tony Parker notched a double- double with 18 points and 11 assists and three bench members — Antonio McDyess, Gary Neal and George Hill — provided some scoring punch with 14, 11 and 14 points, respectively. The Spurs have won nine of their last 10 games.
David Lee led all scorers with 31 points and 12 rebounds, Monta Ellis posted 25 points and Dorell Wright added 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Warriors, who have dropped two games in a row.
“I thought we could’ve contested their shots a little bit more,” said Golden State head coach Keith Smart. “But those guys are never in a hurry, so they’re very patient and they know how to engage a help defender just enough to get a guy open and they know where everybody is going to be at all times.”
After the first 12 minutes ended in a 34-34 stalemate, San Antonio started to take control with an 11-2 scoring stretch late in the first half. A free throw by Tiago Splitter, a McDyess pull-up jumper and two Neal free throws capped the burst for a 56-50 advantage. The Spurs lead by as many as nine points late in the half and held a 62-55 edge after 24 minutes of game action.
After a Lee jumper started the third stanza, San Antonio scored the next six points capped by Parker’s jumper for a double-digit edge, 68-57. Eight consecutive points later in the period, capped by Hill’s slam, opened up an 83-70 edge. The Spurs pushed the advantage to 98-84 on Duncan’s jumper with just over 8 1/2 minutes to play. Golden State never threatened the rest of the way.
San Antonio made 50 percent of its shots, while the Warriors connected only 45.9 percent and 5-of-15 three-pointers…The Spurs have won 11 straight meetings with Golden State…San Antonio improved to 25-4 versus the Western Conference.
(Sports Network) – The San Antonio Spurs hope to bounce back from their worst offensive performance of the season when they go in search of their 11th consecutive win over the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on Monday.
The Spurs, who boast an NBA-best 37-7 mark, dropped the opener of a three-game road trip in New Orleans on Saturday when David West recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, as the Hornets won their eighth straight game with a 96-72 victory over San Antonio.
Tiago Splitter finished with 11 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Spurs, who had an eight-game winning streak of their own snapped. Tony Parker donated 10 points. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili shot a combined 4-of-19 from the field and scored six and four points, respectively.
“They are playing the best basketball of anyone in this league for the last 15 to 20 games,” Duncan said of the Hornets. “They are right in the mix and, obviously, they played well tonight.”
New Orleans held the mighty Spurs to their fewest points of the season, including 12 in the first quarter and just 10 in the third. The 10 points were San Antonio’s fewest in a quarter since netting nine in the fourth of a 90-64 setback at Utah on April 4, 2008, and the 72 points were the worst since a 72-65 win at Portland two days later.
San Antonio, which is now 13-5 away from the Alamo City, closes out its trek in Salt Lake City later this week. The Warriors, meanwhile, had a season-high four-game winning streak halted on Saturday when Blake Griffin provided plenty of highlight-worthy dunks, but it was his go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute that proved to be the difference in the Clippers’ 113-109 victory over Golden State.
Stephen Curry netted 32 points and doled out eight assists to lead the Warriors, who are just 6-17 on the road versus a solid 13-7 home mark. Monta Ellis chipped in 17 points but shot a woeful 6-for-21 from the field.
“We did a great job competing and getting back in the game, but we gave up a couple of rebounds at the end,” Warriors head coach Keith Smart said.
Golden State hasn’t stopped the Spurs since a 130-121 overtime win back on Jan. 7, 2008 in Oakland.
The Golden State Warriors' four-point loss to the Los Clippers Saturday was quite telling of the false-consciousness we may have over the four-game winning streak. Perhaps it's just the ghost of Kobe Bryant haunting the Warriors at Oracle, but the Warriors dropped another game in Los Angeles against La-La Land’s JV-squad and have only won six games on the road. The best of those six wins coming off a struggling New Orleans Hornets squad.
But the Warriors inability to gain ground on the road, especially against a similarly talented and unfocused squad, is telling. Mark Purdy, contributor to the San Jose Mercury, told Warrior fans, last week, to halt the celebrations, particularly after narrowly beating the league’s worst team:
For no sensible reason, the in-house confetti guns at Oracle Arena were shot off Monday after the Warriors beat New Jersey.
Please. There should be a strict no-confetti rule following victories over the Nets. They are the NBA’s version of paramecium, simple organisms swimming through scummy water with no hope of evolving into something grander.
Agreed. Purdy’s premonitions amidst the celebrations on MLK day oddly rang true throughout the week and, especially against that last minute meltdown in Los Angeles. Over the last week, the Warriors beat teams they should be beating, but couldn’t beat a team worse than them on the road. Here’s what else Purdy had to say:
The catch: The bulk of that success has come against bad opposition. Only four of the Warriors’ victories — and just two since the dynamic dribbling duo’s official takeover — have been over teams that currently have winning records.
All of this explains why the Golden Staters are 12th in the Western Conference. Last season, they finished 13th. Confetti! Confetti!
Yikes, the Warriors are playing better basketball and clearly have a better winning percentage than last season. But the fact they’ve only improved by one position in the standings (as of last week), doesn’t do much for them in the long-run.
The season is halfway over and the Warriors are a completely revamped squad from last season with a new coach instilling and installing a new philosophy. With that said, as fans, what should we settle for? Do we assume this is just a trial season, a throw away until Lacob and Guber finally get to construct this team from the down up? Are Coach Keith Smart and GM Larry Riley just interim? Or should we expect this team to be much better and more prepared than it is?
The more things change, the more things stay the same. In spite of Monta Ellis incredible, 180 degree turnaround in terms of attitude towards this team, the Monta Ellis-Stephen Curry drama has been revived once again to describe Stephen Curry’s struggles this season offensively and defensively.
Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group reports, according to Coach Keith Smart, that Curry has been playing passively, offensively, because of the more offensive firepower on the roster this season:
Last season, when surrounded mostly by reserves with many of his teammates injured, Curry was the playmaker constantly putting pressure on the defense. The past two games, he has gotten back to that.
“I just think it’s his competitive nature,” Smart said. “He’s realizing he is valuable and he’s got to get his level of game play up. He was looking for his shot a little more. I think he needs to do that more than trying to look to pass to everyone.”
This may be true, but what do we make of the inverse relationship that Curry and Monta’s scoring has been in the last two games? As fans over at Golden State of Mind have chattered about the last few days with the offensive rhythm stalling and games coming down to the wire. Some fans chalked it up as players just naturally having the occasional bad game. And Monta, against the Clippers, was nursing a sore ankle. But Curry’s 66 point explosion over the last two games seems oddly strange against Monta’s 18-50 shooting.
Perhaps we shouldn’t read much into it, but perhaps a trend to keep our eye on in the next few weeks.
A night after winning a wild overtime game against the Sacramento Kings, the Golden State Warriors came up short in their bid for a five-game winning streak. The Warriors were worn down by the Clippers and dominated all over the court by rookie phenom Blake Griffin. The monster in the middle for the Clippers had one of his best games of the season, finishing with 30 points, 18 rebounds, 8 assists, and a couple more highlight dunks including this reverse on an alley-oop.
The Warriors appeared to run out of gas midway in the third quarter as they fell behind by ten points. They managed to mount a comeback late in the quarter, but then the Clippers would extend the lead back out to ten. Considering the Warriors were on the back end of back-to-back games this result wouldn’t have been checking. However, the Ws managed to make this a tight ball game as they utilized a 13-3 run to tie the game at 105 with 1:10 to go.
After tying the game, the Warriors had the Clippers down to the final two seconds on the shot clock and passing the ball in from out of bounds. However, Blake Griffin stepped up with a monster three. Dorell Wright managed to follow that by snagging a foul while attempting a three. He missed one of the three free throws, but did cut the lead to one. In the ensuing free throw battle the Warriors had a couple opportunities to get the ball back with a chance to take the lead, but they couldn’t convert some key rebounds as they eventually fell 113-109.
The Warriors were led by a monster all-around effort from Stephen Curry who scored 32 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 8 assists. Monta Ellis struggled after his Friday injury and finished with 17 points on 6-of-21 shooting.
The Warriors now get a day off before hosting the hot San Antonio Spurs on Monday and the equally hot New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. The Warriors currently sit in twelfth place in the Western Conference, five games back of the final playoff spot.
(Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Clippers aim for their seventh straight home win tonight against the Pacific Division-rival Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. The Clippers are 13-13 at home this season, but had a three-game overall winning streak stopped with Thursday’s 108-93 setback in Portland. Eric Gordon hit seven three-pointers en route to 35 points and young star Blake Griffin posted 20 points and 18 boards for LA, which had won six of seven games.
“I thought the Blazers executed much better than we did, in the second half especially,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Our defense was not good enough or tough enough.”
Gordon has scored 25-plus points 20 times this season. Griffin, the top dunker in the NBA with 96, is back on the double-double track after having his franchise record streak of 27 double-doubles come to an end in a win versus Minnesota. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers record for most home wins is eight straight established from March 20, 1993 – April 16, 1993. LA is 11-5 in the past 16 games since starting the 2010-11 campaign with a lowly 5-21 ledger.
Meanwhile, the Warriors won the last four portions of a five-game homestand and are coming off Friday’s 119-112 overtime victory versus Sacramento. Warriors leading scorer Monta Ellis buried a jumper with nine-tenths of a second remaining to send the game to overtime before suffering a sprained left ankle, finishing with 28 points and nine assists. Ellis was injured when Donte Greene fell on him while going after a loose ball.
“He just jumped for the ball I had my foot there and it went sideways,” said Ellis, who is listed as questionable for tonight. “It’s still a little sore. I’ll wake up in the morning and see how it feels.”
Stephen Curry scored 28 of his 34 points after halftime and Dorell Wright added 13 points and 12 rebounds in a winning effort. David Lee contributed 22 points and 10 boards for Golden State, which will return home for eight games after this road tilt against the Clippers.
The Warriors are just 6-16 as the guest this season and haven’t won five in a row since the 2007 campaign. Golden State and Los Angeles will close out their 2010-11 season series tonight and the Warriors lead by a 2-1 count. Golden State has won 11 of the last 16 meetings between the teams, but is 3-10 in the last 13 contests as the visitor in this series.
Despite Monta Ellis nailing the game-tying shot to send another thrilling matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors into overtime, it nearly wasn't worth the effort. As Golden State seemed to be in total control of the game up 7 with 35 seconds left in the extra session, the Kings started gambling for steals, and Ellis bore the brutal brunt of their attempts. Donte Greene went for the steal, poked the ball out of Ellis's hand, and as Ellis tried to evade Greene diving on the floor for the loose ball, his leg went down a little funny, and he went to the floor as the Kings broke for what ended up being meaningless points. Ellis had to be assisted off the court.
Here's video of the incident, courtesy of CSN Bay Area.
However, after the game when talking to reporters. Ellis showed no real signs of discomfort, and said that no X-rays are necessary.. It was the ankle that Ellis has had worked a couple of times, so it makes sense that the shooting guard was being a little cautious before trying to put weight on it. His status for tonight's game with the Los Angeles Clippers is questionable.
(Sports Network) – The Golden State Warriors will finish up a five-game homestand Friday by welcoming Pacific Division rival Sacramento to Oakland. The Warriors improved to 3-1 on their current residency Wednesday when Monta Ellis hit a jumper with just 0.6 seconds left as Golden State took a 110-108 win over the Indiana Pacers. Golden State, which is in the midst of a stretch of 13 of 14 games at Oracle Arena, is now a solid 12-7 on its home floor this season.
Ellis, the NBA’s third-leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, had a game-high 36 points with six assists and five rebounds, and David Lee added 21 points and nine boards for the Warriors, who have won three in a row for the second time this season. Dorell Wright added 21 points.
“He is letting his game speak for itself,” Golden State coach Keith Smart said of Ellis “Having talked to a lot of coaches, they have noticed how well he is playing.”
The Kings, meanwhile, lost their third straight game on Wednesday when Andre Miller made the go-ahead jumper with 1:49 left in overtime, as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied past Sacramento, 94-90, in California’s capital. Beno Udrih finished with 20 points and five boards for the Kings, who have dropped six of seven overall. Tyreke Evans tallied 16 points and eight assists while Samuel Dalembert had a season-high 15 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.
“That game was certainly a game that we had,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “It left a scar. I think we are playing better basketball but we have been having a tough time closing games.”
Sacramento has dropped three in a row and seven of its past eight trips to Oakland, and has lost 14 of its past 15 games on the road in 2010-11. The Warriors defeated the Kings, 117-109, in overtime on Dec. 21 this season from Arco Arena.
So apparently in a discussion Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob had with Tim Kawakami, the subject of beleaguered Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was broached. Lacob said that he had discussed the possibility of Anthony coming to the Bay Area, and came away with the impression that Anthony was focused on being in one geographic area (which we'd guess to be the New York Knicks). It appears there will be no 'Melo jersey sale spikes in Oakland anytime soon. Let's also keep in mind that Lacob probably wouldn't be interested in going after a star player who would only play one season and then leave for his desired destination upon free agency, since there's no hope he'd ever sign an extension with the Warriors.
But what would be needed for this trade to even happen? With Anthony's contract at $17 million per year for the next two years, only Monta Ellis ($11 million for the next four years) and David Lee ($11 mil for the next six years) seem like they'd have to go for this to happen with complementary players tossed in. Even though Lacob is open to the idea of splitting up Ellis and Stephen Curry, it's too much for the Warriors to lose for very small short-term gains.
Yeah, there's no chance. This trade's a pipe dream.
San Jose Mercury contributor Tim Kawakami broke bread with Joe Lacob and showed why you no longer “feel Chris Cohan’s numbing presence.” A very forthright Joe Lacob made his presence felt as an pleased but very unsatisfied owner, leaving no stone unturned in his critiques ranging from Stephen Curry’s disappointing sophomore season and Coach Keith Smart’s substitutions and rotations. But is Lacob saying too much publicly? I’ve mentioned before that Smart’s substitutions and rotations have been iffy, but they’ve produced wins even with Brandan Wright.
The owner called Ellis “our core, franchise player,” and agreed that Curry has not played to the standards of last season.
“Does that mean that Curry would be traded, or more likely to be traded than Ellis? Not necessarily,” Lacob said. "It really depends. “… This is all dependent on what you’re going to get in return.”
But the difference from just last summer is unmistakable: Curry used to be beyond trade talk, even for Lacob, and he’s not now.
Uh oh. Just when we thought the Monta versus Curry debates of who is the face of the franchise subsided with the wins, Lacob just went and disturbed the beehive. Fans over at Golden State of Mind have already been “buzzing” about this, but note that the Warriors are sub .500 and ask whether being the face of that is something worth mentioning.
Unfortunately, Curry’s defensive liabilities are magnified, I think, by the fact that the Warriors are absolutely defensively terrible at 2 of the other 4 starting positions. PF David Lee and C Andris Biedrins have equally been demolished by the leagues best and worst. Monta can be a solid defender. But, as the one that shoulders a bulk of the offense (and for good reason lately), his defense tends to slide down the priority pole. So that pretty much leaves Dorell Wright as the lone solid defender in the starting five.
But what are your thoughts about Lacob breaking up this backcourt? Realistic? Too much too soon? Is it worth making a major move to attract a superstar? Or will that even be worth it as the bay area is not exactly a hot geographic destination if the Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chris Bosh sweepstakes was any indication last summer?
In the beginning of the 4th quarter as the Indiana Pacers began mounting a lead and gaining momentum, Coach Keith Smart probably made what fans thought was a “not Smart” substitution by throwing in little used and often forgotten PF Brandan Wright. Why B.Wright and not rookie PF Ekpe Udoh, the Warriors flavor of the month for his development on both sides of the ball? For sure, I thought with this substitution, Smart is waving the white flag or he is incredibly desperate.
Well it was clearly a stroke of genius as Brandan Wright offered some nifty play around the hoop on both ends, reaching for the sky on rebounds and flipping in layups in traffic. Marcus Thompson reports:
The Warriors also got surprising production from forward Brandan Wright, who had only played in 12 games all season, and hadn’t played in the previous three. He played 12 minutes, including during crunch time and finished with six points and four rebounds.
And here’s what Coach Keith Smart had to say about it (via Golden State of Mind via NBA.com):
“As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I don’t know who’s going to show up towards the end of our rotation. And today it was a guy that hasn’t played in about four or five games and Brandan Wright came in and did just what we needed to get done at that junction of the game. He came in and made some big plays on both sides of the ball and had some finishes around the basket. So that’s how our team is going to be as we keep pushing our rock a little bit up the hill.”
The Warriors' random rotation right now, highlighted recently by Smart’s preference for Reggie Williams for long stretches, has obviously worked in the win column but what kind of signal does it send to the team? Clearly wins matter more than anything and so long as the Warriors win, that should probably keep players content. But would Ekpe Udoh had been just as effective? And what do we make of B.Wright’s efforts?
It’s safe to say that B.Wright did what everyone knows he can do. He’s got a great knack for scoring within feet of the basket with a few flip shots and baby hooks. His length makes him difficult to guard and his five to 10 jump shots from the baseline are generally money. But the guy can never put together a consistent effort either due to injuries or just poor play on the defensive end. B.Wright’s contributions last night were great, but Warriors fans have been witness to this tantalizing, yet teasing play. Whether or not B.Wright has a future with the Warriors, great play like this will hopefully pique interest in other teams who may still see some untapped potential and will be interested in making a trade.
Monta Ellis hit was might have been the closest thing we've seen of Michael Jordan at the Oracle since...well maybe when Michael Jordan was still playing. As Avinash Kunnath has showed already, Monta's 20-foot game winner over Brandon Rush looked the part of MJ over Brian Russell in the 97 NBA Championships. This clearly was the greatest thing to witness last night...or was it?
Dorell Wright might have completed what Blake Griffin and Baron Davis tried to accomplish just a few nights ago with their 60-foot alley-oop
[The Stephen Curry-Dorell Wright 3/4 court alley-oop (via outsidethenba)]
D.Wright has quickly become one the greatest surprises this season (second to Monta Ellis' leadership and possibly third to Stephen Curry's regression of sorts). Aside from being a financial "steal," D.Wright is actually showing me that he is actually really a well-rounded player. More than just a 3-point shooter of late, D.Wright has been spotting up for jumpers at the elbow, taking the ball off the dribble with some nifty hesitation dribble-drives, and, of course, the length and athleticism for plays like this. But most importantly, D.Wright plays hard, dives for loose balls, rebounds, and cheers for his teammates. Man-crush? Maybe.
But I'm not the only one. Here's what Coach Keith Smart had to say about his starting small forward:
"I didn't think it would come this fast," he said. "I thought once we got him here and put him in our system and showed him how we wanted to function as a small forward, he would make plays. We knew he could shoot the (3-pointer). We knew he could guard some people at different spots. But as far as playmaking ability, I didn't see that at all in Miami."
With the rate that D.Wright is improving, what can we expect from him from here on out? What are hidden tricks and talents does he have?
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Monta Ellis hit a jumper with just 0.6 seconds left as the Golden State Warriors took a 110-108 win over the Indiana Pacers. Ellis had a game-high 36 points with six assists and five rebounds and David Lee added 21 points and nine boards for the Warriors, who have won three in a row for the second time this season. Dorell Wright added 21 points.
“We lost the game because of turnovers tonight,” said Indiana coach Jim O’Brien. “Granger and Ellis both had great games out there tonight and Ellis’ shot was big, but turnovers lost the game for us.”
With the score tied and 18.1 seconds showing on the clock, Ellis took the inbounds pass and held the ball outside the three-point arc. With time winding down, he drove inside the line, pulled up just outside the paint and buried a jumper with 0.6 seconds left on the clock.
“I was concentrating to knock it down,” said Ellis. “Coach wanted me to have the last shot, so I took it and it went in. Good game for us tonight.”
Indiana was unable to get a shot off from the inbounds pass before time expired. The Pacers held a 29-28 lead after 12 minutes of play and built their advantage to 58-53 going into the halftime break.
Golden State surged ahead in the third and Ellis hit a jumper with under four minutes to play to give the team a 77-69 advantage, but Indiana responded with a 12-0 run as two free throws from Paul George gave the team an 81-77 lead. Acie Law, though, hit a three-pointer as time expired to cut Indiana’s lead to 83-81 heading to the final quarter.
The Pacers held a 105-101 advantage with under three minutes to play after Darren Collison hit a longer jumper, but Lee made two from the line and an Ellis bucket tied the game with 2:03 to play.
Indiana continues its four-game road trip in Portland on Saturday…Golden State hosts Sacramento on Friday…These two teams split the two-game series the previous four seasons…Collison and Mike Dunleavy each had 14 points in defeat…Golden State shot 51.1 percent while Indiana made 45.7 percent of its attempts…The Pacers outrebounded the Warriors, 49-35, but committed 20 turnovers compared to just 12 for the Warriors.
(Sports Network) – The Golden State Warriors resume a five-game homestand Wednesday by welcoming the Indiana Pacers to Oakland. The Warriors improved to 2-1 on their residency Monday when Monta Ellis recorded 26 points, nine assists, five rebounds and three steals to pace Golden State over the struggling New Jersey Nets, 109-100.
David Lee added 24 points and 10 boards for the Warriors, who have won two in a row and four of six overall. Stephen Curry chipped in 13 points and six assists. Reggie Williams and Dorell Wright donated 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the victors.
“We were just patient. We let the game come to us,” Ellis said. “They have about the same system of plays like us. We just took to our time and looked for the open guy. We had to control the ball because if we would have turned the ball over they would have taken it and ran.”
Golden State, which is in the midst of a stretch of 13 of 14 games at Oracle Arena, will finish its residency against Sacramento on Friday. The Warriors are a solid 11-7 on their home floor.
The Pacers, meanwhile, dropped the opener of a four-game western road trip on Monday in Los Angeles when Blake Griffin continued his impressive rookie season with an NBA season-best 47 points to go along with 14 rebounds, as the Clippers topped Indiana, 114-107, for their fifth straight home victory. Griffin also accounted for his 27th consecutive double-double and broke his own record for points in a game by a Clippers rookie.
“Spectacular performance by Griffin,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “We couldn’t guard him, he was too much to handle.”
Danny Granger led the Pacers with 32 points, while Darren Collison scored 30 with eight assists for Indiana, which has dropped five of seven overall. James Posey and Brandon Rush each contributed 10 points in the loss. Indiana, which is 6-12 away from home this season, will also face Portland and Denver on its trip.
These two teams have split their home-and-home season series in each of the past four seasons.
The Warriors will be tired by the end of this week. With four games between today and next Wednesday (five if you want to include next Wednesday’s game), the Warriors are probably glad that they are as healthy as they have been all season. Who are this week’s foes and what do we have to look forward to?
For one, today marks the annual “return of Mike Dunleavy Jr.” who’s departure (and annual return) are probably circled on every fan’s calendar. Once compared to Larry Bird for his all-around skills coming out of Duke University, the perennial college basketball powerhouse, Dunleavy Jr. quickly became everyone’s whipping boy for the Warriors failures. He didn’t quite help his situation, rarely taking responsibility for his poor play and often citing that coaches were not using him properly. Well, Dunleavy returns today with the on-and-off Indiana Pacers. This game is worth your time to watch, just so you can get your “boooooo” on! And knowing that Mike Dunleavy Jr. may feel better being in Indy, but injury-prone and still playoff-less, makes me sleep comfortably at night that at least ONE lottery pick chose by the Warriors didn’t necessarily become the player everyone thought they should actually be upon leaving the bay area.
The Sacramento Kings game feels like a winnable game as they’re a team hampered by injuries and immaturity among it’s stars in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. The Warriors head back down to La-La Land again to face the Los Angeles Clippers, a familiar foe of late. As Avinash has compiled (here and here), this is a can’t-miss-game for Blake Griffin’s amazing dunk attempts. Honestly, who cares if he makes them, Avinash suggests.
Lastly, the Warriors face the San Antonio Spurs next Monday at the Oracle, who are atop everyone’s weekly NBA Power Rankings. The Spurs of late have looked more like the Phoenix Suns with the way they are getting up and down the court. The last few times these two teams have met, the Warriors were unable to prevent the Spurs from getting hot from the perimeter. Stopping Tim Duncan might be a mute point, but stopping Matt Bonner and Gary Neal from going bonkers form deep may be a better strategy at this point.
The Warriors have quickly made the most of their opportunities at the Oracle, the beginning of a lengthy and important homestand that last until the end of February. After going 2-1 last week with their one loss an epic battle between Monta Ellis and Kobe Bryant that had the whole internet world abuzz, "home is" clearly "where the heart is," as the cliche goes. The Warriors, typically, would have laid down to die at any difficult juncture in the game. But fans were witnessed to a Warriors team, clearly manhandled inside by the three-headed monster of Mr. Lamar Kardashian... I mean Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, understood that if they had any chance of winning, they actually had box out, dive for looseballs, and run as fast as they could to cover perimeter defenders...on every play. Think of any film where the less gifted protagonists gets theirs in the end: Rudy, Jerry Maguire, The Mighty Ducks... you get the point.
Well, the Warriors still lost, but since then Monta Ellis has become sports media's new trending topic. That individual performance against Kobe Bryant -- an outspoken supporter of Monta's game -- seemed to push him into discussions of being on the periphery of possible All-Star. In the 3 game span last week, Monta has averaged more than 30 points a game and 6 assists a game. He's not only shooting above 50% from the field, but also is attempting 7 freethrows per game while making 80% of them.
Despite the loss, the game vaulted Monta Ellis more and more into the media's wavering spotlight. Their following two victories over the lowly (but surging Los Angeles Clippers) and the New Jersey Nets were hardly news-worthy. But what was probably most notable about those two games was 1) Stephen Curry's temporarily declining minutes and 2) Andris Biedrins confidence issues.
Curry's defense, more so than rebounding, has become the Warriors Achilles heel and Keith Smart talked abstracted that it was purely about "match ups" than Reggie Williams playing better alongside Monta (and with great results). The Warriors clearly need Curry on the floor, as he really is the most competent ball-handler on the team that can break presses and double-teams if need be. Williams is more capable than Ellis at handling the ball, but both him and Ellis are better as scorers than facilitators of offense.
But with the Warriors offense clicking and getting wider open threes through crafty ball movement, maybe their classic drive led by a competent ball-handler is no longer needed?
Check back for more updates on this week's Warriors news. Will Biedrins get his swagger back? Will Curry continue to sit? Will Monta get that all-star vote?
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