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Warriors 110, Clippers 103

What is it about playing the Clippers in L.A. that leads to no rest for members of the Warriors?

The Staples Center is where Kelenna Azubuike played all 48 minutes on Jan. 17 — Trading Day — as the depleted Warriors fell to the Clips, 115-109.

And it was also where Monta Ellis played 48 minutes (well, if we round up) on Friday as the Warriors held off the Clippers in their exhibition finale. The game was most notable for the fact that Golden State got through pretty much unscathed from a health perspective, although there was a scare with Ellis in the final minute.

After knocking down his last bucket of the evening, an 18-footer from left of the top of the key with 33 seconds to go, Ellis landed on the foot of Clippers forward Corey Maggette and turned his left ankle.

Ellis jumped around on his good leg for one possession before leaving the game and heading immediately to the locker room, but the injury did not appear to be serious. He was not icing it when media entered the locker room, walked normally to the bus and said it was no problem.

Ellis, who turned 22 on Friday, finished with 27 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, five steals and six turnovers. He played point the whole way and looked in control for much of the evening, such as when he patiently waited for Patrick O’Bryant to come free on a pick-and-roll and whipped him a pass for a dunk.

Also, he went to his left on Clipper defenders a couple of times — including one for a dunk over Chris Kaman — to show he’s getting better at using his off hand.

Other thoughts while waiting for air-traffic controllers to let us leave LAX:

** Even though it’s only preseason, the result had to be an embarrassment for the Clippers, who were missing Ruben Patterson but got 27 minutes or more from Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley, Maggette and Kaman. Losing despite your starters facing primarily backups from a team that only won 12 road games last season? Awful.

** Kosta Perovic showed some nice range on his jumper, and was quick to fire when his man left him to double elsewhere, but he still seems a little flustered in traffic. It was good showing, but I would still expect him to be the first player shipped out to the D-League.

** It was another tough night for Marco Belinelli, who went 3-for-11 (0-for-4 on 3s) and it showed in his body language: Head down, reaching in for churlish fouls. Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson have been trying to feed him open shots whenever they can — Baron’s always looking to find him for trailing 3s on the break — and I think one big game, in the mold of that famous summer league debut, would do wonders for his confidence.

** Al Harrington joked about needing “a diaper” after falling and bruising the left side of his posterior (the right side had already taken a beating from a fall in Seattle on Tuesday), but the funniest sight of the night came in the second quarter, when Clippers guard Dan Dickau was called for a blocking foul after getting run over by Austin Croshere.

Dickau got up and immediately started jawing with referee Eli Roe, but teammate Paul Davis grabbed him by the back of the shirt to prevent any more serious confrontation. It looked like someone walking one of those little “yippy” dogs that strain at the end of the leash and bark at your ankle.

Sadly, however, the yipping worked. Roe and fellow refs Michael Smith and Ed Malloy called an astonishing eight offensive fouls (I believe all of them were charges, but I can’t be totally certain an illegal screen or something didn’t sneak in there) in the second half. Just ridiculous. I thought we were getting rid of that scourge of the game, the “defender” who throws himself in an offensive player’s path at the last second to draw a “charge.” Apparently not.

– Geoff Lepper

Marcus Thompson

  • petaluman

    Thanks for the recap. It definitely sounds as though Monta has been working on his PG skills. How did he pick up the turnovers? Last year he had a problem with charging calls and careless passing.

    Has Belinelli been going to the hoop? He looked good in Summer League doing this, although I know it’s much harder in the NBA. He needs to find a way to contribute offensively when his jumpshot is off, and he’s got decent handles.

    You didn’t say much about POB. Are you comfortable enough that he can contribute this year that it’s no longer newsworthy?

  • Geoff Lepper

    Petaluman –

    Regarding Ellis’ TOs, there were a few bad passes (an alley oop that Stephane Lasme didn’t oop for stands out) but also some bad luck (he pulled up short on the break one time and lost the ball after he got knocked to the ground by Patrick O’Bryant).

    There was one time at midcourt where Sam Cassell tried to reach in for a poke-check steal, and Ellis did the only thing he could do to avoid giving up the ball — he grabbed it and swung it over and around Cassell’s head, Globetrotter-style. Sure, it was a travel, but he should have got off on style points alone.

    As for Belinelli, he went to the hoop a couple of times early (his first touch, he went left and pulled up to force a shooting foul on Quinton Ross), but settled for jumpers pretty much the rest of the way. If you want a 2 guard on this team who’ll attack the basket, you’re better off with Ellis or Kelenna Azubuike.

    As for O’Bryant, aside from running down Ellis, he was solid if unspectacular. He had a couple of nice assists by posting up and passing off the block (finding Mickael Pietrus for a dunk and going cross-court to Al Harrington for a 3) and one high-flying rebound in traffic. And yes, seeing him be better than terrible is no longer breaking news, IMHO.

    – Geoff