Early reports from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com notes that Monta Ellis is “nothing serious” and “nothing serious” being classified as a back strain.
Although these are just preliminary reports, this is tremendous news for the Warriors as they are already shorthanded when it comes to scorers with Curry’s bum ankle. But in this case, Ellis’ self-sacrificing drives to the hoop — half man and half amazing (though Vince Carter) — to draw fouls and get to the line shows some problematic aspects of Ellis’ strategy.
In this particular situation, Ellis drove baseline only to be blanketed by two defenders in what looked to me like a clean block. But Ellis, not known to for getting calls, often dribbles into traffic, which are situations that referees would not necessarily give out calls to. Based on my little experience refereeing basketball games, fouls should be given when players on offense and defense have an “advantage.” By advantage, I mean a defensive player holding onto his opponents shirt or an offensive player pushing off. Both offensive and defensive players should have the opportunity to move freely around the court without affecting each other.
With the case of Ellis, he tends to dribble into situations where there is no “advantaging” or at least referees won’t interpret it as such because it’s not considered “smart basketball” since the likelihood of him scoring is relatively low in a packed paint, which opponents sit patiently for him. If Ellis was driving against one player, he probably would get more calls. Either that, or Ellis needs to find a way to draw fouls like Kobe Bryant, drawing his arms through the defenders on his way up, hopefully without exposing the ball too much.
As amazing as Ellis’ drives are, today showed that the “half man” side of him. Keep your fingers crossed that it is a sprain and nothing more.