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Game #16 (6-10): Warriors 126, Pacers 107

Before the San Antonio game on Wednesday, Monta Ellis’ mother told him to go out and get 40. Ellis responded by tying his career high with 42 points.

Before Monday’s game against Indiana, Ellis’ wife had a similar request. Then he went out and set a new career-high with 45 points on 15-for-27 shooting in 42 minutes of action.

ELLIS: “Actually, my wifde asked me to get 50 tonight. I was pulling for it. I don’t know what happened at the end. I didn’t know I had five fouls. Kind of snuck up on me a li’l bit. When I fouled out, she stuck up her thumb and said ‘Hey, 45 and win was cool with me.’ So, I’m happy.”

Ellis scored 18 in the first quarter, setting the tone for a big game. He had only one assist with seven turnovers, but five rebounds and five steals. After the game, the Monta Ellis praise poured heavily, as expected:

ANTHONY RANDOLPH: “It’s unbelievable. He’s been carrying us these last five games, coming close to winning and stuff like that, and just being able to sit over there and watch what he does is kind of unbelievable…for a guy his size too.”

MIKE DUNLEAVY: “He’s the boss. I mean, he’s running the show for this team. His quickness and explosiveness attacking big guys, either getting to the line or getting layups. He’s tough to beat.”

KEITH SMART: “It’s like watching my two boys. They start to grow and then they start to get it. Then they slowly start to put it all together. Then they become pro players, and understanding how every night — back-to-back or three days off. Watching him evolve into this guy that we all knew could be special, he’s starting to do that. It’s good knowing early on, he and I talked about this today outside in the parking lot in his car, I used to come in and watch film with you. Watching film with you watching – mot playing, watching. We’re trying to communicate that to our other young guys, Randolph in particular. That’s where (Monta’s) at right now. So watching him evolve and become a top-line guy and, most importantly, he’s telling me ‘I want to guard this guy tonight’ and he’s moving from there.

C.J. Watson wasn’t impressed. He said he’s seen Monta’s talents to much. It has become monotonous to him. Watson has seen it up close, having had to defend Ellis in many practices.

Ellis wasn’t impressed either. Having once scored 72 points in a high school game, he brushed it off as nothing.

ELLIS: “It’s a lot of nights I will have 45. It’s some nights I will have 50. But the win and how we got the win is more impressive to me. … I was born to do that. That’s not impresive to me. I’ve been doing that all my life. Check my resume. (laughs). But naw, man. It’s all fun. I’d rather get the win than the points. It really doesn’t amaze me at all. And that’s not being cocky or nothing, it’s just something I’ve always been doing all my life, scoring 30 and 40 points. That’s no surprise to me.”  

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Now, in the past I’ve been accused of having a man crush on C.J. Watson. I admit, I probably used to laud him too much. But the dude is a beast on offense. Morrow is ridiculous with the J, but Watson is right behind if not right there. His midrange is money.

So on nights like Monday, when the Warriors are struggling on offense, or when they need a quick start in the third, Watson is money. Keith Smart knows it. He put Watson in and sat Curry because Watson is a vet (funny, considering Watson was in the D-League not too long ago) and he can run point without giving Smart gray hairs. Obviously, neither Smart nor Nellie are too comfortable with Curry at the point in critical moments. But Monday, Watson “gave us another ball-handler on the floor, who was a veteran player, ready to go.”

Curry is a better passer than Watson right now. But not a better shooter or better defender, and not as comfortable out there. For that reason, you might start seeing more of Watson. He may even wind up the starter.

SMART: “I think the way we’re playing right now, because we’re playing catch up, we’ve got to just play whichever guys are playing real well. Nothing against any of our guys on our roster. And I think the message we’re sending to them: we have to play at a nice level, and everyone has to be at that level. And if you’re not at that level, myself in the next game or so, we’ve got to move to the next person. And when coach comes back, I think he’s going to be around the same way. Because CJ is playing. He’s a veteran, a steady hand. He’s been in the league, so he understands that right now. Steph is going to be a good player in our league and he’s going to keep working and things are going to get better for him. But tonight, it was a CJ Watson night. He was sure of what he was doing, and it allowed Monta to get off the ball little bit, which opened other things up.”

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Got another Andris Biedrins update before the game. The starting center is out at least another week, maybe three more. He was re-evaluated Monday as previously announced. He showed progress and said he felt better. He’s looked super limited in practice, doing light work on the side and walking off gingerly.

The Warriors did announce that his condition, Osteitis Pubis, a straining of the muscles that connect the abdomin and quadriceps, is an injury that takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal. Biedrins is three weeks in.

The Warriors will check him out again before they leave on the five-game road trip on Sunday. I am assuming Biedrins will make this trip if there is a chance he can play or if he just wants to work out with the Warriors strength and conditioning coaches.

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The Warriors topped 120 for the fourth time, and shot above 50 percent for the sixth time.

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Mikki Moore has a bone spur in his right heel and it’s digging into his Achilles tendon. He said he needs to have surgery but he won’t because the Warriors need him.

Moore said the injury has bothered him since last season. He said he can play through the pain, though it is significant. But he doesn’t like that he is limited. He said he can’t explode off his foot, which affects his rebounding and shot blocking. He said that is part of the reason why he’s missing lay-ups and getting his dunk attempts blocked.

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Ellis passed Boston guard Rajon Rondo for the league lead in steals. Ellis is now averaging 2.56 steals per game. He’s averaging 3.8 steals his last five games.

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Fans love Chris Hunter. The D-League call-up had another positive performance  Monday. He had 8 points, two rebounds and a block in 12 minutes. He had a dunk for a three-point play in the fourth quarter, it was the exclamation point on the Warriors run that put the game away. The Arena went crazy.

HUNTER: “I really didn’t notice it. I was trying to focus on the game, try to give some energy coming off the bench. Luckily, it was good minutes this time. I usually try to stay cool, calm, collected. But when the situation arises for a little emotion, I like to show it. I think that was a big play for us. We got a couple stops in a row and then I got the three-point play. I think it was a big moment for me.”

Hunter’s biggest fan on the bench, the first one up, was Mikki Moore. He’s taken to the youngster who has taken the road less traveled to the league. Moore, who knows what it’s like to grind it out, has a soft spot for Hunter.

MOORE: “I told him. I said, ‘You right in my foot steps. When you get that opportunity to get out there and shine, you do your best. You come from down there, you get hungry. I know.”

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Devean George said he is close to coming back. Actually, it sounds like he’s ready now. He’s just waiting on his number to be called.

GEORGE: “Feel good, feel real good. I’m real close. I’ve been practicing full practice the last two practices, full up and down contact. It feels good. The next day it feels good. So I’m ready to go any day. Still doing my therapy, but I’m feeling good.”

George had surgery in March to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. He was with Dallas at the time. He was then traded to Toronto in the Shawn Marion deal. He was then acquired by the Warriors in exchange for Marco Belinelli. George, who will be a free agent at the end of the year, has been rehabbing since joing the Warriors. He’s been building up the strength in the muscles around his right knee to prevent re-injury.

There are certainly questions about whether George, who won 4 championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, still has anything left in the tank. If he does, it figures he has the size (6-8, 235) and experience (in his 11th season) to give the Warriors’ bench some depth.

One thing that stands out so far, according to Smart and a couple players, is that George can shoot the rock a bit. He’s a career 39 percent shooter, including 33.7 percent from 3. But his midrange has connected regularly in practice. He said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to get those jumpers off in a game setting.

ELLISGEORGE: “It’s there. I’m bringing it back. It’s better here, too, because there’s more opportunity. You can get into a rhythm. For my career, I’ve had to make my three or four shots count. There was only two or three per game, so I had to make them count. Here, it’s up and down and you can get into a rhythm. You can shoot and miss one and be like, ‘It’s OK. I can get into a rhythm. There’s not a lot of pressure knowing this is my one kick out so I’ve got to hit it because I might not see it the rest of the game.”

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Ellis was 14 of 16 from the line. Both were career highs.

Marcus Thompson

  • commish

    Thanks for the very informative post. I had wondered about why Bell hasn’t had surgery and why no one that I have seen is reporting on what is going on with him.

    I am really worried Ellis’ one man wreaking crew is an injury waiting to happen. It is exciting to watch his wild drives and mid air shots and or passes, but for the first two quarters of last night’s game his play really effected how the other player’s played and what they tried to do. It is like they are all watching him and waiting for him to drive. This is not a long term successful strategy as far as I can tell.

    I wanted to wait to answer your last blog question about The trade. No matter what has happened, not having Dunleavy and Murphy is the best thing in the world. They just suck, especially Murphy. He is so lazy with his shots and effort. And slow. Dunleavy looked better and is who he is. I see he has forced himself to quit his more dramatic flopping, but still the habit is there. The morning picture in the CC Times is another great, very unflattering shot of him with his floppy looking face. LOL.

    I will say the Dubs seem to play harder for Smart. I don’t know if you agree with that, but just the energy he brings from the sidelines with his animated and hands on coaching. It is nice to see a coach actually up and moving around, urging his players on rather than scowling.

    The good news: Ellis is amazing. The bad news: Ellis can’t keep playing entire games carrying the team while they watch in admiration. At least IMHO/

  • Marques8

    It’s starting to look at little too much like Iverson ball. Monta is going to have to learn out to create for other people. It won’t take long to get tired of this one-man show, particularly when he has guys to pass to. I would sure like to see Boris Diaw on this team. Don’t get me wrong. Monta has a great game. He’s fast, can get to the rim, and can shoot. But if he had to wear glasses that actually reflected his court vision, he would look like a nerd with tattoos, you know a TK kind of guy. TK has tattoos, doesn’t he?

  • Jon Shahvar

    Saw you on Nbatv last night. Good work! Always nice to see bay area ppl get on the national scene.

  • Gizzm

    Morrow is shooting a ridiculous 72% from 3pt territory in the W’s six wins this year.

    Get him some mo shots!

  • http://ihatemydvr.blogspot.com/ Bigmouth

    Monta was robbed! Dude’s feet were still moving on ‘Ta’s last charge with over five minutes to play! He would easily have surpassed 50…

  • OliverStone

    Smart’s post game presser was very impressive, lostsa good stuff. When asked about CJ’s playing time over Curry he said,

    “…they’re are going to play the guys who are playing well, the guys who are helping the team win. He said the Warriors are trying to build a team, and not trying to cater to any one guy”.

    We can only hope this is a new direction & an end to the Nellie favoristm that has undermined the team in the past.

  • Greg

    I’m glad Monta fouled out. It gave some other guys a chance to shine a little. I wasn’t too cool with how Monta seemed to shut out the rest of his teammates and just take over. I guess I shouldn’t complain when he is shooting a high percentage. I just hope he can adapt on off nights and pass to his teammates.

    P.S. Please start Hunter.

  • some guy

    And with Smart’s comments it begins…..

    (the dubs indelible quest to eek out some extra wins with vets over experience for the young players. when all this does is push them higher up in the lottery. never learn. even more ridiculous when you consider that CJ has stated he wants out via his twitter and at best will only be here another year.)

  • Marcus Thompson

    Some Guy,

    I thought the exact same thing!

  • earl monroe

    Some Guy, Marcus,

    This is all about Smart getting Nelson the record so he can push him upstairs and take over the coaching job. Nelson has always been very short sighted.
    The worst thing the Warriors can do is make Smart the head coach.

  • Scotty

    Thanks Marcus. Always look forward to these wrap ups.

    I know Monta didn’t play the whole game, but he was certainly on his way. Can’t help wonder how long they can realistically keep running him out there like that. It does never cease to amaze me the speed he can sustain for 48 minutes though.

  • petaluman

    If you’re not playing to win, it’s not really sports, is it?

  • WarriorD

    I was hoping George would be the odd man out so we could keep Hunter around. Does anyone know how long this waiver that we got lasts? With the bench coming back one at a time it doesn’t look like the waiver we were given for not having enough players dressed will be accurate anymore.
    He definitely fits a role on this team that needs more role players, I would hate to lose him because we got George back healthy.

  • Perry

    “Some Guy”

    Frustrating on one end to see Watson getting PT when you know he doesn’t want to be here and he is a veteran…….

    But can’t we realistically say that most Warrior players don’t want to be here?…..I think we can.

    The positive thing was that CJ was ready, professional as he always is, took and made big baskets at opportune times, not afraid to shoot and showed more confidence last night than I have seen in his entire career……….he exuded confidence on the court last night.

    Hard to see a negative from that.

    You have to remember, it’s not like CJ has established himself completely in this league either. Yes, he got a contract, but a contract that shows that he still has a lot to prove. A deal like we gave Barnes and Pietrus,……..wary deals, deals that are made at the last minute, in desperation, and under-cut the value of the player. A “prove me wrong” type of deal or “show me what you have” type of deal.

    CJ has just as much to prove as does Stephen Curry in my book…….

    I love Curry’s game as well…..I agree with playing CJ last night though.

    Get the win……..at all costs, I agree with developing young players, but it’s up to management and coaching to figure out how to balance that.

    Until that time, our only concern should be to win games, period.

    Figure out how to weave Stephen Curry in your rotation, that’s not my problem.

    We should only be concerned with wins at this point, nothing else.

  • DW

    And the worst part about this article is…..

    “Devean George said he is close to coming back. Actually, it sounds like he’s ready now. He’s just waiting on his number to be called.”

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

  • DW

    But let me say this, if this gets Nelson the record faster by having Vets play, then so be it. Nelson isn’t going anywhere until the record is his so people should stop whining about who he plays. Just root for the record!

  • commish

    Amen!

  • http://nba.com/warriors Tim Hardaway jr.

    MONTA is a 2010 ALL STAR…hands down!
    I’m still looking to see one more trade go down for us, where we can exchange some contracts and maybe one big for a legit big. Beans is cool, but seriously he’s soft. We have one shot to get BOSH before free agency, I say lets get him. btw..I don’t mind if George comes back to play, just as long as he’s on point. Turiaf came back last night, after being injured and was sloppy with his play..If you can’t play D and hit a jumper..sit DOWN!

    Warriors on 3!

  • sartre

    The number of available players is so low now that everyone – whether vet or newcomer – gets to play.