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.”

Before the game, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson lauded Ellis’ development as a scorer.

JACKSON: “When Monta became a shooter, besides being a driver, it elevated his game in a way which he became unstoppable on certain nights. His speed and quickness to the hoop is remarkable. His growth as a shooter has become apparent and his ability to play consistently – I know he’s been banged up recently and hasn’t felt well – but his ability to kind of a be a leader on the team has really helped him out.”

Then Monta went out and scored 38 points on 15-for-26 shooting. He knocked down 4 of 7 3-pointers, three from the corners and a clutch pull-up off a high-screen in the fourth quarter. After the game, Jackson offered more love, and some sympathy for a guy who didn’t get any rest.

JACKSON: “I see him a lot. I watch this team. I watch him play. Tonight was a special night for him. I think he really stepped his challenge up and he played Kobe pretty well until the end. Did he play 48 minutes or get a rest out there? It was a long night for him out there on the floor.”


With the struggles of center Andris Biedrins, many a fan has wondered how rookie big man Ekpe Udoh would look in that role.

Well, Udoh, for one, is certain he can start at center in the NBA. Just not right now.

UDOH: “One day. … The NBA game is crazy. It’s such a great game, I don’t think I would be ready to just hop in at that position yet.”

Udoh wasn’t even second string Wednesday. But coach Keith Smart said before the game he thought Udoh might get “bright-eyed” against the Lakers. Smart has expressed concern about Udoh going against veteran bigs for extended minutes. Smart said he wants to bring Udoh along slowly and doesn’t want him to get embarrassed on the court, which could hurt his coincidence confidence (I think I should stop posting from my iPhone! ha).

So Udoh got a DNP. Dan Gadzuric and Biedrins ate up the minutes at center against the Los Angeles Lakers’ sizeable frontline. It seems like the Warriors needed Udoh in the game.

Lakers big men Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined for 55 points and 34 rebounds. Udoh might’ve been a better deterrent for the Lakers inside scoring since he is the Warriors’ best shot-blocker (or maybe not, as Gasol is wiley and skilled, Bynum is a giant and Odom is a big man with SF skills). We know by now Udoh certainly had a better chance of scoring inside than Gadzuric and Biedrins. Udoh is already one of the Warriors’ better back-to-the-basket players — which he showed down the stretch in a loss at Orlando.

But one thing Udoh might not have helped with was rebounding. The Warriors were outrebounded 26-8 in the second half. Half of those were grabbed by Lee. Udoh is averaging 2.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes.

UDOH: “I’ve got to pick up my rebounds,” Udoh said. “It’s something I’ve got to get better at. I’ve got to stay more in tune.”

Biedrins finished with two points, three rebounds, two turnovers and six fouls in 25 minutes.


Can anyone explain Vladimir Radmanovic? He played 18 minutes, scored 11 big points, two assists, a block. What has happened? He has become a super solid reserve. This is the same guy Nellie got nothing out of (and I agreed with Nellie).


Dorell Wright was 5 of 11 from 3-point range. He is shooting 42 percent from behind the arc and he leads the league in 3-pointers made with 103. Think he’ll get an invite to the 3-point shootout?

Wright said he wants to participate, but he doubts he’ll get the call. After he nearly won it last year, Curry, I think, will get another shot. Curry is shooting 41.1 percent from 3-point range this year.

Marcus Thompson

  • J Canseco

    Marcus. Is Monta going to be an All Star or what.

  • FeatherRiverDan

    does smart think by not playing Udoh thats gonna give him more confidence….. smart isnt smart at all….he just plain sucks as a coach…

  • Reason

    I am sure Udoh could have achieved 3 rebounds in 25 minutes and my guess is that he would also have fouled out at some point, maybe even earlier. I think a healthy Reggie Williams could have spelled Monta for a few minutes in the 4th when Kobe was resting and that could possibly have changed the ending.


    I believe the writing has been on the wall for quite some time about Andris Biedrins, he should’ve been gone a long time ago, he is a liability offensively, he could be an asset on the boards and defensively, but very suspect. And I’m beginning to suspect coach Keith Smart’s move already. Coach keith Smart panicking in been too quick to take guys out for too long when they are in foul trouble and the game is on the line has probed to be the wrong decision making in critical moments that can turn the game around. Not putting the key people for key matches like not putting Udoh in the game last night, I can go on and on…Coach Keith Smart, is time for you to go.

  • commish

    Hey Marcus. Been awhile. Smart is coaching like Nelson and is maddening. No rest for Monta and then expecting him to score AND defend Kobe. That is sick. And he should bench Andris if he could I never thought I’d say that. Great team and individual effort against a much better team.

  • Inside9

    Monta must get rest especially against Kobe! Its really not fair to expect him to be superman in the fourth quarter against a rested Kobe with great supporting cast. And come on is Udoh a museum piece for the bench? Why not give him some minutes? He is allowed to make some rookie mistakes and learn from them. I don’t understand Smart’s thinking. It was Nellie-like in those aspects.

  • WetLunGz

    Biedrin would be an amazing backup center…..

  • WetLunGz

    And maybe I’m wrong but maybe by playing udoh against some dominate big men mite actually teach him something? I mean sometimes u gotta get embarassed on the court to learn…

  • WetLunGz

    And I don’t see how gadz or amundson play over him when neither can catch the ball under the hoop and gadz has shown he can’t make the easy buckets…see last night for examples….

  • Dan

    I thought Smart was going to be a breath of fresh air compared to Nellie’s stinky old cigar and whiskey breath, but as others have pointed out, it looks like Smart’s been drinking and smoking too much of Nellie’s stuff. From playing Monta (and now Wright!) 48 minutes so they’re ineffective down the stretch, to not playing rookies who could help (Udoh), to going small against big teams despite having a big and effective defender/rebounder on the bench (Admundson), it’s the same old song. It’s great that he can communicate with players and isn’t a total jerk, but all that’s not worth much if the same old crappy game management is in place. I’m pretty certain Lacob feels the same way so Smart will be one and done.

  • Twinkie defense

    What’s happened with Vlad Rad? He was injured last season, that’s why Nellie couldn’t get anything out of him. Vlad was absolutely horrible to begin this season, but he’s coming along now as a nice piece off the bench.

  • Cedric

    Vlad Rad is auditioning for the upcoming trade deadline. Smart is auditioning for the unemployment line. Apparently, years of Nelli type player substitutions are hard to overcome. He’ll have to break that habit and find a way to get the right players in (or out) at the right times or he’ll find himself as an assistant in Cleveland again.

  • dubfan

    I find it curious that both Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant alluded to Monta’s improved shooting as the biggest rise in his game, because the way I see it, he has always been a deadly mid-range shooter, but what he has indeed improved on (and dramatically) is his 3-point shooting/range. I think his biggest improvement, aside from the shooting RANGE is actually in his ability to get to the basket and finish…which again, is something he has always excelled at, but is getting even better at this year. Also, his passing has improved a lot too, which may be a by product of his driving ability…getting more attention, so more players to dish off to – but he still has to have the presence of mind and ability to make those passes in situations where he cannot finish, but he is. He also probably has about the quickest hands in the league.

    I still hear about how he is not the kind of player to really lead the team to the promised land. I just have to disagree…he is flat out, balls to the wall, a great, great talent. We are lucky to have him and I hope we keep him.

  • robert rowell

    the biggest improvement to montas game isn’t scoring, it’s passing and leadership. but, alas, i doubt seriously whether that’s enough to get him an all star appearance. first, the W’s are pretty awful. it’s hard for first timers to get the nod coming from a perennial bad team. second, because of years of futility, including this one, monta has so little national exposure that in the nba popularity contest that is the all star game, straight up, fans just don’t know enough about him. thirdly, the W’s suck. despite monta’s best efforts (most forty point games this season, second most twenty point halves, third leading scorer, etc, etc), the W’s will continue to suck. not monta’s fault that he can’t carry a bunch of underplaying scrubs, but with guys like d. will, kobe, westbrook, nash, gordon, manu, parker, etc, etc, in the same conference, it’s a hard sell for monta.

  • warriosfan

    Keep the fire Keith Smart talk going and smother all these excuses why and why not certain players are not and are playing.

    This is beyond insane!! For the last few years all we hear about is wait til everyone gets healthy and we need to develop are youth. We need to wait and see or we need to let someone get healthy then play them

    Warrior fans are sick and tired of this buttering of players by people like fitzgerald and sick and tired of coaches that can’t coach if their life depended on it.

    You had 8 players play against a laker team. then you had udoh and amundon who are basically first of the bench…..not get any minutes….this is by far the worst piece of garbage for coaching since don nelson.

    Fan’s keep talking and let it be know that we are sick and tired of bay area lousy coaching …..this is a complete joke!!!!!!

  • The Dude

    When is Keith Smart going to stop playing Monta 48 minutes a game? He is a great player, but he is usually out of gas by the middle of the 4th quarter. The Laker game was a prime example of this. Monta ran out of gas and a fresh Kobe came in and won the game. Pathetic coaching job by Smart.

  • Whadee Reallymean

    I have confidence that playing would not have hurt Udoh’s “coincidence.” Unless, of course, he tried to occupy the same space at the same time as Gasol, Bynum and Mr. Kardashian. That really would hurt.

  • rew

    The game – even though they lost- proves the Warriors
    the Warriors are right on the verge of becoming a pretty good team, a team that can win 50 games a year. The big problem is the center position – they need a new center, and they need a big, physical veteran back-up guard. Biedrens peaked two years ago, his game isn’t improving, he’s no better than a back-up center now. He has no offensive skills, rarely gets an offensive rebound, and he can’t hit his free throws. The lack of a backup shooting guard means Ellis is exhausted by fourth quarter. he will be more effective with some rest.

  • Bill

    Smart’s rotations are definitely wrong. Amundsen’s energy is great but, like Gadzuric, he has two by fours for hands and no shot. Biedrins, we have loved you, but it’s time to go…you’re a pantywaist, all soft silly smiles and no testicles to back up a game….this team needs some attitude, some toughness, and stop throwing it all on Monta….Monta is an all star but the numbers game will keep him out and we all have to swallow that pill…..why? Because we go on sucking and sucking as a team…the best fans in the country and the NBA and new owners who seem content to watch from front row seats…..deal these clowns cluttering up the bench…..do something Lacob, something more than eat popcorn in a front row seat….please…I’ve been a fan since 1962 as a kid and this has become unutterably painful…..dig up Wilt Chamberlain and stand him up at center, we’d be better off…..we don’t need another whole season to analyze this team….Smart’s likeable but better at explaining and excuses his poor strategies than he is at coaching in the moment…..Udoh has to be thrown into the water to learn to swim, no more coddling him…he’s a first round pick, let’s see what he can bring..after what? five years we know we get pussy work from Biedrins….the guy disgusts me, two points, three rebounds, fouls out….pathetic…he doesn’t want to mix it up inside and we need somebody who does…

  • Gizzm

    Watching AB giving Fisher the big handshake and smiles during the referee replay time was sickening.
    AB has not worked on his offensive game at all in the 6 years as a pro. He is a liability on offense outside of 4 feet and he is 5 for 20 (25%) from the stripe after setting all-time Lows last year.
    The only thing he does is rebound. No opposing center is scared of his post defense , he is as soft as they come.
    I wish they can trade this loser.

  • cleve

    Monta’s NOT making the all star team is mostly because of the W’s Fan base. Given that the All stat team is voted by the fans and the W’s continually sell out day in and day out, why then can’t Monta GET VOTED IN despite of his great play ? This is a country whose greatness emanates from our individual ability to vote. Why can one of the biggest fan base in the NBA vote in their best and most deserving player ?

  • garrett

    he’s got a point^ if we really wanted monta as an all star we should have flooded the ballots. Not to mention some of you doubters still look at monta as a trade chip. Playin monta for a full 48 is really risky and not smart but who could replace monta with RW out on wednesday(acie law didn’t play well either. Come on now turn the blame machine off. AB’s play hasn’t been close to impressive since the loss to memphis in memphis where he scored 28 points. I don’t think his career on the decline but playing the way he has recently you have to wonder if it should remain in a warriors uniform. What can you get for him before 2/24 ? Udoh needs time maybe an off season to be a starter, who do you replace beans with/ foul prone Dan G or slide lee to center and start Vlad Rad. A good 2 for 1 trade would make it worth it. We could use legit backups for Monta , Dorell Wright, the rest of bigs will have to be tried by fire( lookin @ u B.Wright)

  • Reason

    I’m sure Monta wouldn’t have played the entire game if Reggie Williams were healthy and available to play at a high level. What is probably more disturbing is that we have Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin in guard spots that cannot put in productive minutes on the court.

  • biedrinsbashers

    Fans are shouting and finally we are seeing Biedrins backlash. Look past all the rhetoric about getting him back after his wimpy ankles injury. Keith Smart is playing him because they have to try and justify wasting 9 mil per year to a guy that can’t simply face a basket and shoot the ball even from 4 feet away. I would give anyone out there 100 billion dollars to name one player in the nba that can’t do this. Its an absolute embarrassment and keith smart can’t swallow this pride and just bench the guy. I can go through the list of nba teams and can name a bunch of tall players or physical players that scrap and get rebounds. His rebound stats are so overblown that dense people like bob fitzgerald don’t see how flawed this stat is when it comes to this farce of a player.

    Keep up the great work warrior fans, we need to get a better coach and we need to speak out because we support the team and we get coaches that sabotage it.

  • keith??


    My name is Keith Smart and I would after 2 years of having the team as assistant coach and now head coach like to thank trainer abdonour for finally getting everyone healthy. So what my goals are is to have 12 healthy players and only use 8. I will put my midget point guards on the tallest shooters at the most clutch moments of the game.

    I desire in no way to develop my long and lengthy athletic forwards because I feel my guy from latvia will do the job even though he never is any factor in the end of the fourth quarter.

    I will also have my best low post offensive threat set screens 40 feet away from the basket as a strategy not to at least try and get the other players big guys in foul trouble.

    My goals are simple……tired my star player out; boost nobody’s confidence; and make the worst substitutions ever imaginable….

    Yes, my name is Keith Smart and I have mental issues

  • Mr. B

    I’ve been out for a while and seem to not have missed much here…

    Nellie is long gone and now we are out to hang Keith Smart. No matter who coaches this darn team, the natives are restless and out to hang the coach. You all want to bring in Jeff Van Gundy and walk the ball up and down the court?

    As for Biedrins, now he got no one to blame since Nellie is gone. The truth is out that he can’t play. Should have traded him for somethin before his value is gone. gotta dump and run…

  • haastheman

    Why wasn’t wright guarding Kobe?? Wasn’t that one of the reasons he was brought in??

  • Smart is still learning on the job. Plus, the Warriors bench is pretty weak.