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Wright Black Eye; Monta the Floor General; Gadzuric Gets the Game Ball

Dorell Wright’s right eye didn’t turn out to be as bad as it originally looked. It was puffy, and more smoke gray than black. He said it was because he has good skin. But if he shoots like that with one puffy eye, the Warriors should probably have Jeff Adrien elbow him before every game.

Wright was 9-for-12 from 3-point range. He was 5-for-5 in the third quarter, when the Warriors stepped on the gas and separated from Minnesota. He broke the franchise record of 8 threes held by guard Jason Richardson, who was 8 of 13 on March 29, 2007 against Phoenix.

Wright’s previous career-high was six 3-pointers in a game. His 30 points was also a career-high.

WRIGHT: “Those guys were just finding me. Monta, Steph and D-Lee, they cause so much attention that when they kick the ball out to me, I’m wide open. I’m just stepping in and taking rhythm shots.”

It isn’t the swollen eye that helped Wright. The difference actually seems to be Lee. It’s no coincidence that Wright had been struggling from the free throw line, and the first game Lee returns to the lineup, Wright gets his shot going again.

Wright was 6 of 32 from 3-point range (18.75 percent) during Lee’s eight-game absence. Including Saturday, Wright is now 34 of 60 from 3-point range (57 percent) with Lee in the lineup.

The breakout shooting performance was needed for Wright, who had been in a drought. He was 2-for-11 in Friday’s loss to Memphis, making him 16-for-53 from the field (30.2 percent) over a four-game stretch.
Wright is 34-for-60 from behind the arc (57 percent) with forward David Lee in the lineup. He is 6-for-32 from behind the arc (18.8 percent) without Lee playing.

Even Lee confessed to his role in Wright’s career night.

LEE: “I thought I got Dorell a couple of early threes, open ones. And once you find your rhythm early as a shooter, it makes things a lot easier. He found his rhythm and had a great game.”

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The Warriors came into Saturday’s game averaging 21.6 assists per game. That means just over 55 percent of their baskets, on average, are assisted.
Saturday, the Warriors had 26 assists on 40 baskets. That means 65 percent of their baskets were assisted on – significantly less one-on-one offense and more ball movement.

SMART: “They all wanted to win a game and I think all of them were trying to do it themselves. Tonight I think they allowed the ball to be moved a little bit so guys could get the right open shot by penetration or draw-and-kick. And, of course, its obvious with Dave Lee coming back into the fold that he’s a big facilitator. I said he does more for our team than just points and rebounds. He communicates on both sides of the ball and he moves the ball when the ball stops in one place.”

A big part of that was Monta Ellis, who finished with 10 assists. He did a lot of the orchestrating, a lot of setting up his teammates. As was the case against Memphis, he wasn’t just driving to score and finding guys as a bailout. He was creating shots for others, driving one way with the purpose of drawing the defender to set up the pass. He was surveying the court from the perimeter, seeing all the options, instead of just putting his head down and beating his man. He even passed out of traps, which he normally just blows by using his speed.

Ellis has 18 assists in his last two games. He now has eight games in his career with double-digit assists, two this season.

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Keith Smart gave the game ball to Dan Gadzuric.

Gadzuric didn’t start, as he had done the past three games. But he gave the Warriors 18 minutes off the bench, 12 of them critical.
He started the second half because Biedrins picked up his fourth foul in the final seconds of the second quarter. Gadzuric played well enough for Smart to keep him in the game the entire third quarter.

Gadzuric scored all eight of his points – two dunks, a lay-up and a funny-looking little one-handed pull-up from about seven feet — during a 20-5 Warriors’ run that turned a one-point deficit into an 80-66 advantage.

SMART: “He didn’t play the first half, but he was ready to play. That’s what I’m searching for, guys that I can count on off the bench who’s ready to give me 100 percent effort. You knew if he was going to give me effort, something positive was going to happen. … He did what he was supposed to do as a guy coming off the bench.”

Marcus Thompson