The Warriors clawed and scrapped and executed well enough for 45 minutes to have a chance to win. Considering they had just seven players, one new to the team, is that encouraging? Or does the fact they choked down the stretch, turning the ball over three times to kill their chances, override the fact that they were in the game?
Oddly enough, or not, it was Maggette, the 11-year veteran, who made two of the crucial turnovers. The other was a dribbling oops by Steph Curry, which led to a jump ball with LeBron James.
In the Warriors locker room, though, most of the focus was on the fact that they were in the game at all, which seemed to come as a surprise to the Warriors. They gave a spirited effort against a Cavs team that was sleep-walking and without Shaq.
Tonight, they have to do the same thing at Boston. But the Celtics have lost two straight and should be hungry.
“Did you have to remind me of that,” Monta Ellis said jokingly.
There was quite a bit of scuttle before the game about Monta Ellis wanting to leave, about the Warriors shopping him, about a meeting this week between Ellis’ agent and Warriors’ brass.
Here is the Warriors’ response to all of the reports:
About the meeting …
* It has not been set, Riley said. There is no guarantee it will even happen. The way it was described to me, Jeff Fried (Monta’s agent) called Larry Riley and said he was in town and wanted to meet. Fried is a co-promoter for Andre Ward and the Warriors are helping out with the PR. So Fried is in town and Riley accepted the meeting because he said it is routine to meet with his players’ agents when they’re in town. He met with Steph Curry’s agent recently (which if I am correct is his father, Dell Jeff Austin). He met with Bill Duffy, Anthony Randolph’s agent. It is protocol.
It goes without saying that these meetings aren’t just about catching up, as perhaps is implied. Certainly, Randolph and his people are unhappy with his role and his minutes. (To be sure, some members of the organization are a little befuddled that he’s been reduced to the fourth-string center)
I’m told the Warriors are expecting some concerns to be raised by Fried, and they wouldn’t be surprised if he asked them to trade Monta. This Ellis kid is most-certainly an issue.
ELLIS: “That was the first time I heard it, before the game. … I don’t know what the meetings about.”
“Like I said, I play for the Warriors. I just heard that tonight. That’s my first time hearing it. Whatever they meeting about, they meeting about. I don’t know what it is. It’s a possibility we could be trying to move somebody in. Y’all think it’s moving somebody out. I don’t know what it is.”
“I realize people gone talk. That’s freedom of speech. They can say what they want to say. Like I said, I don’t read the players so I won’t let it get to me. I’m not feeding into it. If they talk, they talk.”
About the shopping of Ellis …
* I am convinced, thanks to a few insiders, that the Warriors dangled Monta Ellis in trade talks. He is certainly not untouchable. But I’m told it’s not because they want to get rid of Ellis specifically. He just happens to be perhaps their best asset. So in their quest to land a difference maker, he’s on the table.
Now, a few in the organization are telling me that Monta needs to get his act together or he could be shipped. They certainly don’t want him to become the next Stephen Jackson.
RILEY: “We’re business as usual. Is Monta unhappy right now.? We’re 3-6. So he’s not a happy guy. There are a lot of guys in there that aren’t. We’ve got a chance to resurrect things here and to push things in the right direction and that’s got to be our focus. Would we trade somebody? Hell yes. We’re 3-6 and I’d be stupid not to look at improving this team. Are we going to have a fire sale on somebody? No. We’re not doing that. Are we always going to be looking at our roster? I sure am.”
Ellis did say he has “no problems” with Nellie.
LeBron James gave Stephen Curry a longer-than-usual talk after the game. It was clear from James’ hand gestures that he was telling Curry to have tunnel vision. As one of the game’s premier passers, safe to assume he wasn’t talking about on the court.
CURRY: “He told me to just stay focused and keep getting better every day. Just block out whatever’s going on outside of what I can control.”
Of everyone who saw action, Anthony Randolph got the fewest minutes. Fewer than Vladimir Radmanovic. Fewer than Mikki Moore. Something is just simply wrong with that.
Morrow had a chance to tie the game at 109 with a 3-pointer with 2:20 left. He got a good look certainly. He had just made one less than a minute earlier, too.
With that, it still is somewhat befuddling the lack of shots he gets. He made 5 of 7 in the first half and was 6-for-10 in 35 minutes. Only Mikki Moore took fewer shots (5-for-6). Vlad had 12 shots in 34 minutes. Randolph had 11 in 25. Maggette had 16 in 32. Monta was 9-for-23 in 46 minutes.
It is no doubt partly Morrow’s fault. He fakes himself out of so many shots. Part of it is because defenses knows who he is and are closing out hard. Part of it is because he’s been working on creating off the dribble and that’s the mode he’s in often. But part of it, I think, is because he knows he’s only getting a few looks, so he’s got to make them, which means he needs to have an optimum look. I guess that’s good for a Warriors squad who doesn’t know what a bad shot looks like.
Raja Bell is having surgery. They won’t know how long he’s out until they go in and see. If the tear of his ligament is slight, they will repair it and he will be out 4 or 5 weeks. If it is severely torn, they will repair it and he will have to be out 4 or 5 months.
The Warriors knew this. They would’ve done the trade even if they knew he was out.
RILEY: “I’m happy with the trade. I know what I went through. I know what the market was. And I like Raja Bell. If he can play, it’s a plus for us. We will determine in the next few days what is going to happen with him.”
Raja said he decided to have the surgery before he was traded. He said after playing Saturday against Portland, his fifth game playing with the torn ligament in his left wrist, he said he knew he couldn’t go full bore, especially on defense, so he had told the trainers he was going to have the surgery. He will meet with an hand specialist in Charlotte area on Monday to schedule his surgery.
Being an expiring contract, Bell needs to play. It will be much tougher for him to earn a deal if he misses the entire season. So, certainly, he didn’t take the decision lightly. I don’t think he decided to have the surgery because he’s on a bad team and doesn’t want to be with the Warriors. But, I hardly know the guy so I could be wrong.
BELL: “My game requires me to be able to grab and push, the unsavory thing. “Those are the things that I think make teams want me. So it was weight heavy on my mind.”
Word out of Cleveland is that the Cavs were not happy Jackson went to Charlotte. They wanted him pretty bad. But they wanted too much.
The Cavs were offering Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, who is a free agent and would’ve had to be signed and traded. Neither would’ve played. The Warriors do not want Delonte West and would have told him to stay home. They don’t want to get rid of Jack and bring in another potential headache. And Szczerbiak isn’t even healthy right now. Plus, the Cavaliers wanted a first-round pick, though they probably would’ve backed off if the Warriors pressed.
Problem is, the Warriors didn’t need to press because of Charlotte’s offer.