The Warriors will indeed be without guard Monta Ellis for tonight’s game againstPhiladelphia, according to team sources.
Ellis is still in Mississippi and will not make it back in time to play. The funeral for his grandmother, Mary Cole, was today. She died Christmas morning, at age 89, and Ellis played the first three games with a heavy heart, averaging 21 points on 41.4 percent shooting with 7.7 assists.
Ellis is going to stay with his family Saturday and rejoin the team Sunday, likely in Phoenix. The Warriors visit the Suns on Monday.
Golden State has a great opportunity tonight. To go 3-1 on a homestand that features three playoff teams from last season is the kind of start coach Mark Jackson needed. It didn’t look possible after that opening-night stinker against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors get a break in the schedule. Philly is concluding a back-to-back, losing a close one last night in Utah. Not only that, the Sixers haven’t been home yet. This is their fourth game on a five-game road trip to start the season. Not to say they will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Golden State gets a sluggish Philadelphia squad prone for succumbing to a late run.
Warriors guard Monta Ellis was not at practice Friday. He was back in Mississippi tending to his grandmother’s funeral. Coach Mark Jackson said he is moving forward as if Ellis will not play Saturday against Philadelphia.
JACKSON: “Family is first. He lost a grandmother who he loves dearly, and we want him to take as much as possible, or as much time that he needs, to take care of home. … Obviously, its someone he loves dearly. It’s tough. As a family of team members and staff, we’re very supportive of him and we’re there for him and his family.”
A little over a week after a former Golden State Warriors official sued the team for sexual harassment and wrongful termination, SLAMonline has learned the Warriors have faced other allegations of sexual harassment since majority owner Joe Lacob completed his purchase of the team in November, 2010.
One of the accusers was previously the director of the team’s cheerleading squad, the Warrior Girls. She currently holds a similar position with a separate NBA franchise. Sources have also informed SLAMonline that at least two other former Warriors employees accusing the team of sexual harassment during Lacob’s ownership have settled their cases.
Gotta tip the cap to Monta Ellis. He went from awful to great faster than he can get down court. I don’t know what happened to turn it around for him, but suddenly he was unstoppable.
To post 12 points and 6 assists in the fourth quarter is special alone. To do it after struggling so mightily the first three quarters (4-for-17 shooting, two assists) showed some mental fortitude.
JACKSON: “I thought he really showed his toughness, his will and what a great player he is. Great players respond in the face of adversity. He puts us on his back and brought us home. People don?t want to talk about it, but he?s going through a lot. Losing a loved one is tough, but he?s been there for his team and still been as strong vocally. He hung in there and carried us to a victory.”
The player the Warriors wanted (Tyson Chandler) comes to town tonight. And he’ll be matched up against the player the Warriors didn’t really want (Andris Biedrins).
Chandler rejected the Warriors’ overtures for upwards of $13 million per year. Instead, he chose big money in New York, where he is all but guaranteed to be back in the playoffs and perhaps even contending for a championship. Tonight represents the only opportunity for the Warriors to exact any kind of revenge against. And it will be the only opportunity for Andris Biedrins to match up against the guy for whom the Warriors were ready to send Biedrins packing.
In reality, Biedrins may end up defending Amar’e Stoudemire and Chandler will likely be defended by Lee. Still, Biedrins can one-up Chandler by bringing more energy, having an impact on offense and making sure Chandler doesn’t catch any sick lobs.
It is highly likely, however, that Chandler shows exactly why the Warriors wanted him by protecting the basket, dominating the boards and finishing with authority. But if anyone can match Chandler’s energy and hustle, it’s Biedrins. With Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh also getting time at C, Biedrins should be able to give such energy.
Jeremy Lin is returning to Oracle Arena on Wednesday, but it will be as a Knick.
Lin was claimed off waivers by New York on Tuesday and confirmed he will be on the visiting sideline for the first time tonight. The Palo Alto native had something of a cult following since signing with the Warriors in October 2010. The second-year guard out of Harvard said his returnto Oracle will be emotional.
LIN: “I’m so thankful for the Warriors fans, I have no way I can even express it.”
A team source has confirmed the SI.com report that the Warriors have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent center Kyrylo Fesenko, who spent the last four seasons with the Utah Jazz.
Fesenko — a 7-foot-1, 288 pound Ukranian — will consume the rest of the Warriors’ salary cap space, which is just over a million. Golden State now has a maximum of 15 players on the roster.
Fesenko is a bruising big man who will add depth to the Warriors’ frontline. Golden State now has five players at least 6-foot-10: Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, Jeremy Tyler and Ekpe Udoh. Throw in the size upgrades on the wing (6-foot-9 SF Dominic McGuire, 6-7 swingman Klay Thompson, 6-6 swingman Brandon Rush), and Golden State is a much bigger team across the board.
Fesenko is expected to arrive tonight. His physical is scheduled for Wednesday. He will be with the team for the Knicks game, but don’t expect him to play. His first practice won’t be until Thursday