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Game #20 (6-14): Thunder 104, Warriors 88

9

Monta v. Thabo

So, the Oklahoma Thunder has a plan for guard Monta Ellis – Thabo Sefolosha.

Sefolosha has emerged as a defensive stopper for the Thunder. Because OKC has Durant and Westbrook and Green dominating the shots, Sefolosha can focus soley on defense. An athletic 6-foot-7, 215-pound swingman, he’s become pretty good on that end of the court.

He drew praise for his defense against Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Brandon Roy, . Bryant had 26 on 11-for-23 FGs. Wade had 22 on 6-for-19 FGs with six turnovers. Brandon Roy had 16 on 5-for-17 FGs.

If someone can contain Ellis, that would be a huge blow to the Warriors offense, because so much of it is focused on Ellis making plays. But this could work to the Warriors’ advantage.

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11

Nelson to miss 5-game trip; Morrow out Saturday

Warriors coach Don Nelson, still feeling the effects of pneumonia, was advised not to go on the upcoming five-game road trip that begins Monday at Oklahoma City.

“The last thing you want is a setback,” Nelson said after practice Friday. “I have to take the advice from the guys who know more than I do.”

In addition, the Warriors will be without guard Anthony Morrow on Saturday night’s game against Orlando. Morrow will miss the game due to a death in his family. He will rejoin the team for practice on Sunday and won’t miss any games on the road trip.

Nelson, who will coach the Warriors game Saturday, was “strongly advised” by the team doctors and general manager Larry Riley to not make the trip. He coached Thursday night’s loss to Houston, his first game back since being diagnosed with pnuemonia – which kept him out of action for five games.

But Nelson reported dizziness, excessive warmth and perspiration Thursday night and Friday morning. Because of that, plus Nelson’s penchant for not always adhering to medical advice, Riley decided to have a long talk with Nelson about sitting out the trip.

Riley emphasized the urging was solely out of concern for Nelson’s health.

“It’s about his health and it’s about the fact this is a difficult trip,” Riley said, latter adding, “I want him back. I want him to take this time while we are on this trip. We come back sometime after the middle of December. By that period of time, I expect him to be fully recovered.”

Assistant coach Keith Smart will once again assume the role of acting head coach during the road trip.

8

Raja Out 3 Months At Least

The team  announced Raja Bell is out at least three months after successful surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist.

The next six weeks, Bell’s wrist will be immobilized. If everything is clear at that point, he will begin rehabilitation. The Warriors are thinking that based on Bell’s history and work ethic, he could be back in in March. That is optimism at its best, but that is what they are saying now (remember, before it was four weeks or four to five months).

What does this mean?

It means they are holding out hope he returns. Or, they are keeping the market open.

Did some digging and it sounds like the Warriors aren’t just looking at Bell as an expiring contract. They want him on the team, and it’s going to take a good deal for Bell to be involved. They want a defender and a locker room guy in addition to someone who can play. They like Bell a lot. And even if he doesn’t play this year, Warriors insiders say they are looking at Bell for next season, too.

15

Anthony Randolph will be out 7-14 days

Forward Anthony Randolph has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and will be out of the lineup for between 7-14 days, the Warriors announced before Tuesday’s game at Denver.

Randolph rolled his left ankle midway through the third quarter of Monday’s home game against Indiana. He did not make the trip to Denver with the Warriors early Tuesday morning.

Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart said Randolph, who had played in every game this season, was just starting to find a rhythm against the Pacers when the injury occurred. He had 12 points and was 5 of 6 from the floor. Randolph’s been averaging 11.5 points per game.

The Warriors play Houston and Orlando Thursday and Saturday, respectively, before going on a five-game road trip. It’s possible Randolph would join the team on that trip or just wait for the Dec. 16 home game against San Antonio.

“He was on the verge of having a good game,” Smart said of Randolph’s performance Monday night. “He was in a good place in practice the day after the Lakers game. He started the game off really well and had a nice rhythm. He had done some things that the coaches had worked with him on about being aggressive and assertive.”

The team also announced that guard Raja Bell will have his wrist surgery on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. by Dr. Paul Perlik. It remains to be seen whether Bell will be out for the season or just a few weeks.

Smart said Ronny Turiaf will be a game-time decision after the forward also limped off the Oracle Arena court Monday night. Turiaf said he’s fine and that he’s always available, although he was in street clothes an hour before tipoff. … Swingman Devean George did not make the trip.

– Curtis Pashelka

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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.”

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