19

Ellis Caught in a Lie; Warriors Running Again; Udoh ‘Moving Up Fast’

Here was the question to Monta Ellis after the Christmas Day game:

“What are you thinking when the crowd is chanting “M!-V!-P!”?

Ellis’ answer:

“When I’m on the free throw line, I don’t hear anything. I’m in my own l’il ol’ zone. I just want to win, that’s it.”

Wait. If you don’t hear anything, how do you know the MVP chants came when you were on the free throw line? Busted.

Of course Monta hears the chants, though for some reason he didn’t want to acknowledge hearing them. An applausable attempt at humility, I guess. The most important part is that he continues to play like an MVP candidate. No, he’s not actually a candidate for MVP of the league.

SMART: “He’s doing the job that’s necessary for a player like him who can do so many things for his team. He’s our MVP. He’s moving up into that select group of players in the NBA that play at a high level every night. And that’s what he’s done.”

DAVID LEE: “(Ellis) is the best player I’ve ever played with. He’s playing great, but he’s not out there hogging the ball, taking bad shots. He’s getting to the rack. He’s taking good, uncontested shots. And when he’s double-teamed, he’s finding other guys for easy plays.”

***************

The Warriors finished with 28 fast break points on Saturday, twice as many as Portland. Over the last three games, the Warriors have totaled 90 fast-break points.

It looks like the Warriors are back to running after walking the ball up so much most of the first 26 games.

SMART: “I think the one thing that is glaring for us right now is the fact that we are pushing up the numbers in our transition game. We’re getting to that point where we can start running, but the defense created those opportunities for us.”

It’s not always pretty. Sometimes, the Warriors look downright clumsy on the break. Unless Monta Ellis is gliding to the cup, or it’s a break-away created by a steal, a turnover sometimes seems more likely than a basket. But, at this point, actually pushing the tempo and getting out on the break is as important as successfully executing one.

Saturday, the Warriors had nine fast-break points in the fourth quarter, all created by their defense.

DORELL WRIGHT: “We’re out really running now. We’re getting in the passing lanes, we’re getting steals, we’re getting easy baskets. And that’s key. When you get easy baskets, that makes the game a whole lot easier. … We’re getting the ball up the floor, we’re playing together and we’re feeling good right now.”

**********************

Rookie big man Ekpe Udoh impressed again. He played just over 16 minutes, and he finished with four points, a rebound, an assist and three blocks. His two baskets came in the fourth quarter, and they came out of post-ups. At the 10:31 mark, he dropped in a jump hook from close range. Then at the 6:48 mark, he nailed a turnaround 12-footer.

SMART: “He’s moving up the charts fast. He’s definitely moving up. He has to get himself into good NBA shape and the only way that can happen is in the games. But you’ve seen some flashes that are happening with this kid. You see that he’s doing some nice things with his back to the basket as a post-up player. People said he couldn’t do that, but we had to develop that. … He’s getting more and more comfortable in that setting.”

Udoh also played great defense on Portland big man LaMarcus Aldridge. His footwork, his anticipation and his leverage all shows he knows what he’s doing on that end.

**********************

Brandan Wright was available but did not get off the bench. With the rise of Udoh and a healthy Lou Amundson and Andris Biedrins, he won’t be getting many minutes. That won’t be good for his trade value

Marcus Thompson

  • dw

    Ellis won’t acknowledge the chants because the team stinks Marcus. We struggled to win against a beat up Portland team and the sorry old Kings. You gotta start hammering Riley and these guys about what they are gonna do about it instead of these fluff pieces. I’m starting to think they pay you salary big dog. No big deal, Happy Holidays!

  • Fadein2Bolivian

    It’s funny. People talk about Portland being beat up, but not the W’s.

    -Biedrins out.
    -Curry finally back, but really slow, out of shape. Hasn’t been right all season.
    -The hole in Lee’s elbow finally getting smaller.

    Biedrins-out 4 games
    Curry-out 8 games
    Lee-out 8 games
    Udoh-out 23 games
    Amundson-out 20 games
    Gadzuric?

    I must be crazy. i think the team would be closer to .500 and the eighth spot if they were healthier so far this year.

    Speaking of hammering Riley, he sure did take a pounding with the Udoh pick. Now Riley looks smart.

  • Dave

    Notice Warriors are on a 2 game win streak with Lee playing longer (45 minutes last game) and Lee’s arm starting to heal. If not for that crazy injury I can’t stop imagining what would have been. Warriors would be over .500 and Lee would be in consideration for an All Star again.

  • dw

    Hey #2,,
    First of all Beans sucks, period. Do you honestly think we would have won more games with a guy that’s scared to go to the free throw line?
    David Lees’ elbow is just another excuse in the long line of Warrior excuses. Everyone has injuries, we don’t even have good/descent players to pick up the slack.
    We don’t have a backup 1,3, or 4 that can come in and score and you want to talk about giving Riley praise for Udoh? What’s the matter with you people??
    How can we watch Otis Smith look at his Magic roster and say straight up, ‘not good enough to compete, gotta make changes’ and then look at old sorry Riley and Lacob say ‘ah well injuries you know, let’s wait and see what we have’ ?
    We have crap, that’s what we have.
    Marcus please don’t sacrifice journalism for gaining access to Warriors MGMT.

  • Yoda

    Otis Smith is looking at Dwight Howard bolting if he doesn’t do something now. The Warriors are multiple moves from even being in that conversation, and somehow they’re supposed to get it done by trading their crap for stars or something.

    Thankfully Dw isn’t the GM.

  • Playoffbound

    DW,

    “How can we watch Otis Smith look at his Magic roster and say straight up, ‘not good enough to compete, gotta make changes’ and then look at old sorry Riley and Lacob say ‘ah well injuries you know, let’s wait and see what we have’?”

    Because the Magic are willing to spend a gazillion dollars over the cap. Will the Warriors do that?

  • DW

    Hi Haters,
    First of all #4, Don’t you think Monta and Curry are gonna “bolt” in a couple years if the W’s don’t start moving up the ladder? What are we gonna do then?
    Second #5, It’s not just about going over the cap, it’s about getting rid of expiring contracts for bodies with and actual pulse. There are plenty of players out there and teams that are looking to deal. We are making excuses and ganging up on other commentators. What;s up with that?

    And stop it with either Marcus’ cousins, Warrior staff members or Merc staffers jumping people who criticize. I’m a W’s fan for life and I have an opinion like everyone else.

  • manhattanproj

    so was udoh really the best possible choice the w’s can do at #6 in the draft? does this mean riley know a little bit of what he’s doing in terms of player evaluation? any early opinions?

  • Mike Aucksbigg

    I just read the Game Notes for tonight’s game over at the official team website and something jumped out at me. They used the term “Oracle Faithful”, which for all intents and purposes, is 101% true. But it made me think.

    What you would call those people if you truncated the name Oracle Faithful? Would you call them “O-Fai’s” for short?

    The Warriors pack the house with O-Fai’s every night.

  • dubfan

    I was at the Portland game…and not that I could not have seen this from home in front of the TV as well, but some observations…

    Nice to see David Lee CONSISTENTLY drop the 15 foot jumper…it has not been there all year. When Monta or Curry or D.Wright can drive and kick out if necessary and know that the guy they kick it to (Lee, maybe Udoh too?) can drop that shot…a very nice offensive option.

    Udoh is still learning, but getting better by leaps and bounds and in a hurry. He blocked 3 shots and altered at least a couple of others, and showed some offensive prowess as well. He is going to be good. Very glad to have him.

    Will be very few games in his CAREER that Curry will go 2-15, and yet the team still won. This is a good sign.

    DEFENSE is what won the game in the last 5 minutes. Yeah, it wasn’t there in the first 43 so much, but it was when it counted.

  • brandanwright

    Udoh is solid, but Keith Smart needs to play more of the bench. You need to utilize all the length and shot blocking you have at your disposal. Brandan Wright sadly to say is still your best post up player yet for some reason Keith Smart won’t play him.

    Just about the time Don Nelson was going to play him he had to sit out because of the shoulder injury. You can’t blame the guy for getting hurt. Warriors have a history of bad luck and so singling him out is highly unfair. If Smart cycled in a rotation of biedrins (although not that good ) lee, udoh, wright , and amundson would be highly recommended so you can use up fouls and spell each other minutes. There are many many combinations of lineups utlizing a longer lineup

    There are no excuses, Keith Smart needs to realize that he has talent and he should not be stubborn like his mentor by putting players in the doghouse and letting their skill rot and value fade out. PLAY YOUR PLAYERS…..LEARN

  • warriorfan69

    Someone please call up knbr and mention to fitzgerald that yes the warriors got miserably pounded on the boards the last 3 games. Oh but look at what we have here. Yes that’s correct, we are 3-0 without biedrins, I wonder how that all happened. This is called having david lee now relatively more healthy and others stepping up and hitting shots and playing defense. The evidence shows, that even if we are generally a bad team …..when we do win….it’s not thanks to biedrins…..case closed…….talk now radio tv announcer boy

  • stevo29

    Hey Mr. DW, if all you haveto do is complain about the Dubs, then DON”T WATCH. Yes, you have the right to type your comments, but if they make you that mad, let it go! No, the Dubs won’t win the title this season, but progress is being made. They will trade someone soon, but coach is playing the hand that was dealt.

  • slamdunk

    Riley needs to go after a decent center to improve the interior defense and score a little besides the occasional dunk from Biedrins. Now the Warriors are stuck with bad contract at center who really is not helping the team much. Udoh may even develop to be better, but Gadzuric is not the answer either. No real improvement can be expected until this problem is addressed. Center is a black hole right now.

  • Bleep

    Forget Udoh . . Riley obviously should have drafted Landry Fields!

  • pleue

    Trade Beans to the Magic who need a backup center badly. Maybe for Duhon so they can have a real backup PG and thus unclogging the clogged magic back court. Might have to include some filler to make it work, but would help both teams.

  • pleue

    That opens up the roster, combined with the salary relief and cap room from all the expirings (Vlad, Gadzuric, etc.) to get make a run at an athletic running defense oriented big like Tyson Chandler, who really is the only one in his FA class. If they want a plodder which I doubt, then Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol (Restricted), Oden? (Restricted but there’s something about it if I remember that makes it unlikely he will be) are available.

    There should be enough flexibility and room to add a capable wing to pair with Wright and hopefully one more scorer off the bench. Free agents that come to mind are Tayshan Prince and Shane Battier, Azubuike and J Rich as wings/bench scorers, and Leandro Barbosa and Jamal Crawford as scorers.

    Ideally I would like to see a 10 man rotation with

    1st Team

    PG Curry
    SG Ellis
    SF Wright
    PF Lee
    C Chandler

    2nd Team
    PG Duhon (if trade goes through, he’s a serviceable backup)
    SG Barbosa (running and scoring, can spark the 2nd team and can also go small with Curry and Ellis with Wright and Udoh perhaps.)
    SF Prince or Battier (Both plus defense, Prince I think still has a better overall game but both are vets, good glue guys. Either might start over Wright, but I think the consistency will help Wright more than the others as they know their games already.)
    PF/C Amundson/Udoh

  • Dave in LA

    Slamdunk,

    Just who would you suggest that Riley go after to upgrade the 5 spot? There really aren’t a lot of good 5′s out there, and when they are, teams usually do not want to part with them. We don’t need AB to score big. He needs to get healthy, then eat up space in the paint and defend the rim, grab 10+ boards a nite, ignite the fast break and then maybe score a few points. Udoh can back him up as the defensive “stopper” at the 5. Amundsen spells DLee, (or maybe a scant Brandon Wright sighting at b/u 4)Radman is back to where he is best backing up the 3, and Gadz is relegated to “a body to throw some fouls at Bynum, Howard, etc…” IMO the upgrading front court is not where the W’s jump to the next level.

  • getjie

    Regarding the “lie” it could be that Ellis became aware of the chant because of your question. Nice try at starting something though.