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Game 36 (11-25): Cavaliers 117, Warriors 114

Looking at the replay, Monta Ellis got the rebound from Lebron’s missed J with 6.4 seconds left. He looked over to the bench and signaled timeout, but was told by coach Don Nelson to push the ball. Ellis got started up court with 5.4 seconds left, and he proceeded as if he were confused about what to do next. The rest, you know what happened.

The fact that Ellis wanted to call a timeout, and actually did kinda based on video replay, shows the miscommunication in the final minutes that may have cost the Warriors the game. With five seconds left, gotta believe they could’ve gotten a better shot than Stephen Curry’s 34-foot shot put.

NELSON: “We said in the huddle that we wanted to push the ball and I’ll inform the team tomorrow that I can always call the timeout. I can go to the referee. Coaches now can call a timeout. What they need to do is think in terms of getting the ball, pushing it up. I really like the open court with 6, 7 seconds left, even 5, better than the half court when you need a three. So we lost a couple seconds there that probably would’ve got a better shot.”

Ellis said he either didn’t hear or didn’t remember that Nellie said don’t call a timeout, just push it. Nelson and Curry said Nellie said that in the previous timeout, which occurred at 57.9 seconds after Ellis’ 3 from the right corner.

More important, it is obvious Ellis doesn’t understand Nellie’s philosophy of what to do in those situations. So Monday’s loss to Cleveland should serve as a teaching opportunity. If Ellis knows that Nellie’s preference is to just push it, he won’t have to hesitate. Certainly, though, Ellis should be much more aware of what to do. Whose carries that responsibility is open for debate.

ELLIS: “Naw, I didn’t hear it. That’s why I looked over to the bench. But we still came down, had a chance to win. I didn’t really want to take that off-balance shot. But… I mean… hey, we left it all out there.”

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Stephen Curry couldn’t do anything but laugh when recalling his ridiculous foul on Shaquille O’Neal. Curry tried to foul Shaq from behind on a break away. Shaq got the dunk and the foul. Curry got a stare from Shaq and a spot on the highlights.

SHAQ: “Yeah, I did because that wasn’t a smart foul. I kind of waited for him because I knew it would be on the highlights tonight. So that was for you, Del.”

Curry acknowledged it was stupid foul and he wasn’t offended by Shaq’s reaction.

CURRY: “I’ve seen him do that plenty of times before so I didn’t take too seriously. That was a dumb play for me to try to go knock him down. That’s the last guy in the NBA that you try to do that to. I probably won’t do that again.

“I don’t know if he waited on me or that’s how long it takes for him to get to the basket or whatever, but it did look kinda nasty. I’m trying to knock his arm out, knock the ball away, and he’s acting like I’m a fly and batting me off and going to do dunk it. He’s the Diesel.”

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Guard Anthony Morrow had 3 points on 1-for-1 shooting in 12 minutes. Just to illustrate how far he’s falling out of the rotation, D-League call-up Cartier Martin was 2-for-6 in 19+ minutes.

NELLIE: “They have to understand that when we get bigger at the 3, then we have four guards. And there’s not a lot of minutes there when Monta’s playing 40-something… leading the league. There will be some time cut there.”

“There will be match-up times when I can get away with that. But the bigger 3s are hard for us to guard. We don’t defend the low post that well. Morrow has trouble down there. All of our small guys, you wouldn’t expect they could guard the big 3s.”

Nellie has said on several occasions that Morrow is too good a shooter to not get shots. But he’s seemed to have left Morrow and his teammates up to their own devices. Morrow still passing up shots. His teammates not looking for him. And he’s just not a factor lately. What happened to running plays for him where he comes off a few screens, or posting him up? Oddly enough, the big shot he hit against Sacramento was a designed play (Ellis drive towards Morrow’s man, sucking in Morrow’s man, so Ellis can kick it out to Morrow). And it worked. Are they really going to wait until Morrow figures out how to create his own shot?

Since Morrow can’t defend SFs, he will be primarily a shooting guard. That leaves him looking for minutes behind Ellis and Curry. So unless Cartier is terrible, Morrow’s probably going to get a lot of bench time over the next 18 days, and maybe beyond. And don’t let Martin be able to knock down the 3 with any consistency.

Marcus Thompson