Keith Smart Proven Right for His Udoh Precautions; Still Rookie Needs More Time

It was exactly what Warriors coach Keith Smart had feared.

Kwame Brown – yes, Kwame Brown – got the ball in the paint with Warriors’ rookie Ekpe Udoh on his back. The Warriors’ lead was five with just over two minutes left. Brown, now a wily veteran, took advantage of Udoh. Lost him with an up-and-under move for an easy layup. And the foul. With starting center Andris Biedrins on the bench facing fouls, Brown came alive down the stretch, scoring six points in three minutes (would’ve been eight if he made his free throws).

Smart was right about how Udoh’s inexperience in the league, and at center, would be easily exposed by NBA big men. He is perhaps wise for trying to protect Udoh. With that said, Friday’s game underscored why Udoh needs to play more.

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Was Keith Smart Lucky or a Genius For His Late-Game Decision?

Much of the talk in the locker room postgame was about the Warriors’ final shot in regulation. That’s because Montq Ellis’ sprained left ankle didn’t seem so bad.

Ellis was carried off the court with just over 20 seconds left in overtime after Kings forward Donte Greene fell on Ellis’ left ankle. Ellis said he was in pain and worried because it was the ankle with screws and plate in it. But after the game, he was laughing and chatting with his teammates and unusually chatty with the media. He did walk with a limp, but it was slight enough to be confused with a 70s strut.

The team first announced he would get the left ankle x-rays, but minutes later it was deemed unnecessary. Ellis said he would see how he feels in the morning and determine if he will play Saturday at the Clippers. Considering the Warriors are on a back-to-back and San Antonio in town on Monday, I wouldn’t be surprised if he skipped Saturday’s game and have two full days off.

Back to the shot …

The Warriors had the ball with 15.3 seconds left, down 104-102. No question, they were going to put the ball in Monta Ellis’ hands. But much to the dismay of the crowd at their feet on Friday night, Ellis kept the ball in his hands.

10 seconds left.

8 seconds left.

6 seconds left.

Finally, he made his move, with just enough time to take one shot. Yes, he made it, with .9 seconds left, sending the game to overtime. But that was risky at best, questionable to say the least, and perhaps even irresponsible. But how did it get to that point?

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Midseason Grades Time. You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

About time for me to dole out grades for the first half. Tonight’s game vs. Indiana marks game No. 41. But unless someone does something ridiculous, you pretty much know where everyone stands. One thing’s easy. Nobody’s jumping from a D to a B with one game.

I do know one thing. Monta Ellis is the only sure A.

I am wavering on most, between one grade or another. It will take some analysis, and maybe a little molecular gastronomy. I’m open to hearing other opinions. Namely yours.

Has Andris Biedrins played his way to a D the last couple games?

Has Udoh done enough work to deserve a grade?

Should David Lee be graded on what he’s done or what he should be doing for his $80 million contract?

Would love your thoughts.

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The Jordan Experience on MLK Day

I had the privilege of being shadowed by a wonderful young lady who is a die-hard Warriors fan, a really bright young lady and a genuine sweetheart. She followed me around during pre-game work and she sat with me for the entire first quarter. Here is her recap of her experience:

My name is Jordan Fernandez and I am in 5th grade at Northern Light School. Today, I am shadowing Marcus Thompson. It is MLK Jr. day and the Warriors are playing against the Nets. It is really fun being here. I got to interview some of the Warriors and I got to meet some of the people who work here. I would like to do this again because all the players and workers are nice to me.
I interviewed Ekpe Udoh, Brandan Wright, Acie Law, David Lee, and Vladimir Radmanovic. Also, I met Juanika Ellis, Monta Ellis’ wife. He’s my favorite player. I also got to go on the court and see them practice. I was standing next to Monta when he made a 3-pointer backwards!


Fourth Returns on All-Star Balloting are in …

Someone has cracked the top 10 for the voting among West guards. Finally. He has been playing well, so it makes sense that his fans started to notice his play and give him a nod.No, he probably won’t make the team, but is says something that enough fans recognize his contributions to vote him among the likes of Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Manu Ginobili and Steve Nash.

Kudos to Kevin Martin.

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Monta Flooded with Praise; Udoh Said He’s Not Ready; Can You Explain Vlad’s Rise?

Lots of praise for Monta Ellis on Wednesday night, and deservedly so. He had less help than Kobe Bryant did Wednesday, had much less rest than Kobe Bryant did, and he definitely is working with less size and skill. Yet, for most of the game, Monta outplayed Kobe.

After missing two practices with flu-like symptoms, and still in the final stages of illness, Ellis played the entire game, carried the offense and defended Kobe all the way through. He just ran out of gas. His effort did not go unnoticed, however. Kobe even said Ellis deserved an All-Star nod.

KOBE: “Absolutely. He is a fantastic player. Offensively, he’s complete. He can shoot the ball well, which is something he’s really improved on. He can get to the rim, obviously, and he has a mid-range game as well. So he’s really a complete offensive player.”

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JLin, Gadzuric Coming Back; Warriors Make Sure About Law’s Wrist; David Lee is Like A Steak?

Jeremy Lin will be recalled from the NBA Development League tomorrow and will join the team in New Orleans.

Lin will be available for Wednesday’s game for New Orleans. GM Larry Riley is calling him up because he’s gotten quite a bit of playing time with Reno and he’s looked pretty good in their eyes. Riley saw him in person once.

RILEY: “He played pretty good. He’s played four games and we got what we wanted. He’s gotten minutes and worked on his shooting a little bit and is playing with confidence.”

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