The Warriors will be without Ellis for the second consecutive game thanks to his sprained left knee, opening the door for rookie guard Stephen Curry to get more experience as the undisputed floor general.
Ellis was not with the team in Los Angeles for the annual post-All-Star break evening practice. While the Warriors prepare to take on the Lakers — who will have Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle) and Andrew Bynum (injured right hip), according to the LA Times — Ellis will be in Birmingham, Ala. getting checked out by Dr. James Andrews. He is the same doctor who repaired Ellis’ left ACL when he tore it in high school.
The Warriors are still sounding like it’s no big deal, though seven days of rest wasn’t enough to get him ready to play. There certainly is no need to rush Ellis back, considering the season is over anyway. But something is not right enough for Ellis to fly to Alabama and be evaluated. Ellis said he was scared when he first sustained the injury because it was the same knee with the surgically repaired ACL. But maybe he’s just being extra precautious.
RILEY: “I’m not overly concerned. There is nothing in the preliminary diagnosis that leads you to believe it’s anything serious. Plus he’s resilient.”
Are the Warriors keeping out Ellis because they are shopping him? Maybe to the Celtics, as is still being floated out there? Not at all. Unless I am being completely misled by multiple sources who have yet to lie to me, Ellis is not going anywhere. If the Warriors were to consider it, it certainly would not be for Ray Allen, I was assured.
What Ellis’ injury does is give Curry another chance to run the show. He got a triple-double — 36 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds — the last game Ellis missed. But this time, it won’t be against a bad Clippers squad completing a back-to-back set while staring down a five-day All-Star break vacation. This time, it’s against the best team in the Western Conference, if not the NBA, which will be looking to shift into playoff mode now that the break is over. There has been lots of talk lately (including from me) that Curry getting the ball in his hands more and moving Ellis off the ball. Many (including me) think the best chance of the Ellis-Curry backcourt working is having Ellis be a true SG and Ellis being a true PG.
Questions exist about whether Ellis can play such a role (though he did with Baron Davis, and averagde 20 points on 53 percent shooting). Perhaps more questions exist about whether Curry is ready for such a role. Certainly, the Lakers will be a stiff test.
CURRY: “My goal is to manage the game. I know that sounds vague, but I need to manage the game. Knowing when to push it, when to look for my shot, who to get the ball to and when. I would like to get double-digit assists and keep my turnovers down.”
Also, forward Corey Maggette is expected to play tonight, at least he was until he aggravated his dislocated left ring finger at the end of practice.
Maggette was the last in a tip-drill that concluded practice, and he dunked it home. But that proved to be a mistake. He immediately went to the seats on the baseline and took a seat, shielding his face as he grimaced in pain. Maggette said his finger popped out of socket again. He was treated by head athletic trainer Tom Abdenour. After several minutes, he wound up walking out of practice feeling good enough to joke with teammates Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson, who were trying to talk Maggette out of his per diem.
Maggette, who injured dislocated his finger against Oklahoma City on Feb. 6 and missed the next two games, practiced without the splint he was wearing. But his ring finger was taped to his pinky.
He is still expected to play Tuesday.