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Guard Monta Ellis, Under the Weather, Sits Entire Fourth Quarter as Warriors’ Win Streak is Snapped by Portland

Game story for tomorrow’s paper

In a tight game where every basket was crucial, Warriors star guard Monta Ellis sat on the bench the entire fourth quarter while back-up guard Nate Robinson ran the show.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Ellis wasn’t feeling well. Nonetheless, the result was a 93-91 demoralizing loss to Portland.

“It really wasn’t a decision due to anything other than the fact he wasn’t feeling well all day long,” coach Mark Jackson said. “I almost sent him home … He’s a gamer, a leader and he stayed. … Give him credit, he gave me everything he had. … I just made a decision he was not 100 percent.”

Ellis’ backcourt mate, point guard Stephen Curry, was hardly lights out either. He had eight points on 3-for-10 shooting with eight assists. But he logged nearly nine fourth-quarter minutes but took just one shot.

Forward David Lee did have it rolling. He finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes, his second consecutive 20-and-10 game. Playing his best basketball of the season, he now has a double-double in five straight home games.

But Lee took just two shots in the fourth quarter, none after his three-point play put the Warriors up 86-81 with 3:39 left.

Ellis, who declined to speak with media after the game, finished with 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting with five assists and two turnovers in 27 minutes. With Ellis on the bench the entire fourth quarter, Golden State went the final 2:49 without a field goal, scoring just three points on free throws.

The Warriors failed to capitalize on a vulnerable Portland squad, which was missing their best player (All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge) and concluding a back-to-back set. Golden State had its season-high winning streak snapped at three games, ending the home stand with a sour taste.

“It’s disappointing for sure,” Curry said. “You have a chance to go 3-0 on your home stand, to finish it out and make some more progress to crack into the eighth spot. It’s disappointing but now we have the opportunity to beat two good teams in Memphis and Oklahoma City.”

For the second consecutive game, Lee kept the Warriors in it while the starting backcourt struggled. He usually plays well against Portland. But with Aldridge out of the lineup thanks to a sprained left ankle, Lee – who scored 26 in the last meeting with Portland– really caused problems for the Blazers.

Despite Lee’s performance, the Warriors entered the fourth quarter trailing 72-70 despite shooting 49.2 percent and outrebounding Portland by one through three quarters. But 10 Warriors turnovers and 12 offensive rebounds by Portland led to the Blazers taking 11 more shots. So it didn’t matter thatPortlandshot just 40 percent the first three quarters.

Robinson powered a run that gave the Warriors control of the game. He scored seven straight points at one point, including a step-back jumper that put the Warriors up 81-78. Minutes later, a fade-away by Robinson gave the Warriors a five-point lead with 2:49 left.

But that was about all Golden State could muster. Portland guard Jamal Crawford, a former Warrior, scored five points in the final 1:03 to lift the Blazers.  Meanwhile, Robinson – who scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter – missed his last two shots and nearly turned it over before he could attempt a game-winner in the final seconds.

Stumbling through the lane, he shoveled the ball to forward Brandon Rush in the corner. But Rush did not get his 3-pointer off in time and missed anyway.

“We didn’t have a lot of time, but Nate was getting where ever he wanted on to on the floor,” Jackson said. “It was a high pick-and-roll and he came off and had options around the court with shooters … so we did get what we wanted.”

* The NBA released the names of six players selected for the 3-point shootout on Wednesday. The league’s best 3-point shooting team will not be represented.

Warriors sharp-shooting guard Stephen Curry, who nearly won it two years ago, did not get an invite. Neither did rookie swingman Klay Thompson, who entered Wednesday having made half of his 74 attempts from behind the arc.

But the biggest snub, arguably, is Warriors swingman Brandon Rush. He leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage (54.8 entering Wednesday).

“That’s a joke,” Thompson said of Rush’s omission.

New Jersey Nets guard Anthony Morrow, a former Warrior, was invited. As  was Orlando forward Ryan Anderson, a Cal product. They’ll be joined by Miami’s Mario Chalmers, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and defending champion James Jones of Miami.

The biggest question marks are Love (36.1 percent) and Joe Johnson (35.6 percent), though both will play in the All-Star game on Sunday. Jackson sounded a bit slighted before the game.

“Why don’t we just fly those guys into Oakland and we can put something at stake,” Jackson said, proposing a shootout at Oracle. “I’ll take my guys.” 

Curry, who is shooting 42.5 percent through Tuesday, had a similar idea. The Warriors should have their own shootout. At stake: bragging rights as  the team’s best shooter.

Thompson said Rush is the best shooter by virtue of having the team’s best percentage. Rush gave the nod to Thompson for his pure stroke.

Curry didn’t hesitate when asked who he thought was the Warriors’ best shooter.

“Me.”

* You may have noticed Warriors forward Dominic McGuire is suited up and playing sparingly. That’s because his strained right knee still isn’t feeling great. McGuire said it’s still a day or two a way from normalcy.

He said it’s well enough to play, but he doesn’t have the strength and stability he’s used to. McGuire said he doesn’t remember how he injured the leg.

“I just remember it started hurting,” McGuire said.

Golden State figures to need him for the coming road trip atOklahoma CityandMemphis. As the Warriors’ best perimeter defender, he would certainly be needed to match-up against two elite small forwards – Thunder’s Kevin Durant and the Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay.

Marcus Thompson

  • Dan

    Ok – that’s a viable (but still highly questionable) excuse for Monta sitting and Nate playing. But what’s the excuse for playing Nate instead of Curry at the point? Nate is no PG, as he has proven time and again, including tonight with his almost complete domination of the ball and 0 assists in 22 minutes. He scored some points but really, he killed the offense. Couldn’t he get it to Lee at least a couple times in the fourth?

    You’d think Jackson, a former point, could see that. There is definitely a role for Nate on the team but it’s instant offense and energy in spot duty, not game-controlling fourth quarter PG. Jackson does some good things as coach but games like tonight really make you wonder about him.

  • P diddy

    Coach made a lot of mistakes tonight

  • Gav

    Tim, You are a writer, you are not paid to evaluate talent. Larry Riley , Meyers are. God help us?

    Please enlighten me when was the last time Monta led the Warriors to 7 straight wins, . In any season. I am just curious since Monta is obviously such a great player.

    Lin did this with guys like Landry Fields, Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries, surely Monta has done something like this with a guy like David Lee around?

    Surely the great Monta has led his team like Lin has? Surely Monta would have stepped up to win games like Lin has done like vs Portland last night. Oh oops…..

    Please enlightlen me on this, besides scoring points, and being “exciting” to you, what does Monta do better than Lin in terms of

    -Leadership, getting teammates to follow him because they know he make them better. ? Common critique of MOnta is he doesn’t make others better

    -Playing well in crunch time? Monta is at his worst in crunch time…

    -Decision making, it’s obvious to anyone who knows basketball this is Lin’s strength and one of biggest Monta weakness.

    - Floor vision and space the court, Lin is great at this and Monta isn’t.

    So lets see, Monta scores and is exciting but is worse at everything else THAT HAS TO DO WITH WINNING?

  • snarkk

    Aldridge did not even play tonite for the Blazers — he was left back in Oregon with a bad ankle. So, this home loss was even worse than it appeared…

  • dan

    Why has Mark Jackson not been using Curry as the closer? Curry sux in practice ? Curry told MJ to not give him the ball in crunch time? What is going on ?

    Marcus, it is the question that you should be asking. Curry is getting closer to a big payday this summer, don’t you think the W’s want to find out if Curry can be a floor leader.

  • gtown1_sj

    I do think Nate needed to look for more open players since he is the point. He should be distributing, not shooting. In looking at the schemes ran yesterday, it was the same play the last 3 minutes of the game. High screen pick-and-roll. In looking at the game, the other 3 players not involved in the play were stagnant. None were in position to get an offensive rebound nor were they in place to get off a decent shot. Spacing was horrible. One defnsive guy could guard 2 shooters.
    There needs to be better plays called at the end of games and also a way to get to the foul line. For $10.5 million I would like to see David Lee earn that money at the end of the game, not during the game where he throws up useles double-doubles. Its very frustrating watching a $10.5 mil player not even see the ball at the end of a game.
    Can we please run some plays that will either get a basket or get to the foul line?

  • Grey Warden

    #2 Gav,

    Who is this “Tim” you speak of? Did you even read the article? Where in this article does “Tim” compare Ellis to Lin?

    ————

    As for Curry, Curry had his chance to shine without Ellis, and instead, didn’t want the spotlight. You could attribute that to Nate hogging the ball, but Curry didn’t bother to demand the ball or get himself open for a shot. When he did get the ball, he deferred. Ended up going 3-10 in the past 2 games. His free throw percentage isn’t too great either, considering he shot above 90% the previous season.

    Some of you guys keep saying Curry isn’t a natural PG and should be a SG. Well you guys got your wish, and he didn’t do much with it. Again, you could blame Nate, but again, Curry didn’t do anything when he had the ball.

    Then there’s the matter with asserting himself. It seems Curry only “asserts” himself when he’s feeling it. If he has an off night or an OK night, he will defer often. Need more from Curry if he is gonna be the Warriors’ PG of the future.

  • Young

    @Grey.

    You should be the new Warriors GM! nice piece…

  • http://joelacobsucks.blogspot.com/ Joe Lacob

    He wasn’t sick.

  • jm95054

    Curry is one of the most overrated PGs in the NBA. All the good PGs can drive and dish. The last time we went to the playoff BD was driving and dishing. JLin made it look so easy yesterday with driving and dishing. Does anyone really see Curry as a driver and disher? All he has is a flat footed shot. That’s not the role of the PG.

  • Ron

    The Warriors fundamentals are horrible. I cannot count how many fast breaks they have effed up this season. Come on High school kids are expected to run a fast break correctly. The W’s too many times pass to the wrong guy or setup for a three when they have numbers….terrible! Do we have some crunch time plays? Sure does not seem so. Agree with the Curry comments on why does he not have the ball down the stretch. He is supposed to be the PG of the future.

  • Dave

    Jerry West is taking over and wants to get into the 7th seed or higher. If they win this game and many more, and go into the playoffs, then there goes their draft pick.

    The best scenario is for David Lee to keep playing like an All Star to show all they need is a couple more pieces, but for the other guys like Nate to be the fall guy and mess up at the last second and lose to preserve the draft pick.

  • Dave

    …7th lottery pick or higher, not seed.

  • Dave

    Does anyone actually believe Nate tripped? He was clearly tanking…

  • Gav

    Wrden,

    I suggest you look at how Curry played under Don Nelson end of his rookie year. When Nelson told Monta to GIVE CURRY THE BALL. Curry played so well he got on TEAM USA.

  • Jay

    Does it matter that we don’t finish at 7th worst or below? I thought it’s the pick that matters. We can finish 10th worst, get a chance at the top 3 spots through the lottery and move up and we’d be oK, right? Vice versa, we can be #7 or #5 and get bumped down to 8th or worse and lose our pick.

    Either way, we need that pick back from Utah.

  • Dave

    It matters. There is only like a 4% chance of moving up if they finish 10th worst.

  • Niners in 2012

    Just terrible decision by Coach Jackson putting the ball in Nate’s hands, when he gets the ball it’s not coming back! Nate had 0 asts, 4 to. Curry had 8 assists/2 to in the first 3 quarters, then suddenly in the 4th MJackson has him bringing up the ball and handing it to Nate while Steph stands in the corner.
    Like with Lin, Curry is not being given a fair shot. He needs his number called every play in the 4th. I don’t care how many game winners Curry misses, it’s time for him to get some crunchtime experience.

  • MoreauFan2

    Gav! Curry got on Team USA and hardly got minutes, and was only there becuz he could shoot the ball, he cannot drive and take people off the dribble like Monta can. We should trade Curry and Move Mobnta to the PG Position and let Klay play the two. trust me this can and will work. Monta create alot better than Curry and has done a great job getting others involved! And Sorry u cant talk about Lin against Ellis, two different teams totally and different games, and sorry to say th Knicks play a different style all together so the games are different. Lin has made a difference but is not better than Ellis, I dont care of he wins 20 games in a row, heck Mateen CLeaves wonan NCAA championship, and cudnt even play in the league!

  • MoreauFan2

    If we trade Monta, its going to hurt us big time, he is going to serve somewhere else! Trade Curry!

  • Niners in 2012

    Curry is a much better creator. Curry makes PG passes. Monta makes “I’m tripled teamed and threw it to the nearest guy who isn’t covered” passes.

  • Young

    It doesnt really matter if we trade our players or not. The culture sucks. Players, including Lin, don’t play to there full potential in GS. If trade Curry, he will BALL OUT.

    come back and kill us

    If we trade Monta, he will come back to kill us. If we trade Andris he will come back to kill us (i think…kinda)

    The problem isnt that the players arent good, its that they suck when they play for us. Our only hope is getting a WINNING great player or Winning great coach that will change the culture….

  • moreaufan2

    Curry is not a better creator, he cant drive by anyone in the league, he is super slow and all he does is pull up for long shots all the time. yeahhe has thrown some lobs but thats not what i mean, he cannot create off the dribble and break a defender down, monta can, and if monta is taking bad shots its becuz they are trying to make him a SG instead of developing his PG skills.