The Warriors will be represented at All-Star Weekend. Stephen Curry will defend his title in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday.
Golden State was close to being shut out. Guard Monta Ellis was not named a reserve. Neither of the Warriors top-notch shooters — Brandon Rush (who leads the NBA in 3-point percentage), Klay Thompson and Curry — were selected for the 3-point shootout. Warriors undrafted rookie Chris Wright, who has incredible hops, was not invited to participate in the dunk contest.
And both Thompson and Ekpe Udoh were left out of the Rookie-Sophomore game — even though the NBA reportedly added two players to the Rookie-Sophomore game on Thursday (New York’s Jeremy Lin and Miami’s Norris Cole).
Lin was selected to participate in the skills challenge. So if Curry loses to Lin in the challenge, will that start the Curry-for-Lin trade rumors?
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.”
The NBA announced the participants in the 3-point shootout, which will take place Feb. 25 in Orlando. The list seems to be drawing a bit of criticism, but I don’t find it too terrible. Certainly, some guys were left off. Brandon Rush probably deserves a spot, though I’d rather see near-winner Stephen Curry take a crack at it. But the lineup should be pretty entertaining.
UPDATE: Interesting info from ESPN’s J.A. Adande. He talked to Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso about Lin and learned the Warriors were shopping Lin overseas. My guess is so they can keep his rights while taking him off the books.
“We were offered Jeremy Lin, but we did not think much of him,” Laso said. “… Last summer, during the lockout, he was being shopped all around Europe. We were actually offered a lot of players, a lot of better players. Now, he has emerged with all the injuries New York is going through. He’s playing well. Maybe he has a strong year and then his level (of play) declines. You never know.”
The outbreak of Lin-sanity inevitably turns a spotlight to the Golden State Warriors’ front office, where the decision was made to waive Jeremy Lin.
Initially, the whispers from Warriors brass was that Lin’s captivating run was more a fluke, that inevitably Lin would come back to earth.
But as the Lin-credible run continues, the Knicks now having won six in a row with the Bay Area native at point guard, the reality is becoming more obvious. The Warriors missed on this one.
Even Warriors general manager Larry Riley admitted as much Wednesday.
“We can’t take the position he’s a fluke because he isn’t,” Riley said in a phone interview. “Jeremy Lin will have a 10-year career in this league. People are expecting him to fall off the face of the earth. That’s not going to happen. He’s going to have a long career.”
When you see Bay Area product Jeremy Lin smiling on the court, tongue wagging, it’s not just because his New York Knicks have won five in a row. It’s not just because he’s become a national sensation, putting up big numbers night after night.
Lin is smiling, primarily, because he feels like he has been delivered. Lin agreed to speak with his hometown newspaper about how his faith has been tested in recent months.
“Sometimes you come up against a mountain and you end up making the mountain seem bigger than God,” Lin said via phone call Sunday night. “Last year, I was on pins and needles. I was putting all this unnecessary pressure on myself. Now, I feel like I’m free out there.”
STEPHEN CURRY: “I don’t know what got into me. I looked toward coach and saw him. We had joked about it earlier how that was his thing. … I’m scared to look at (the video).”
His teammates were on him hard after the game about his ugly “shimmy.”
DORELL WRIGHT: “He needs to keep that in the 80s.”
DAVID LEE: “That was ugly when coach Jackson did it and it was ugly when Steph did it. I was glad we could get some enjoyment out of it, and we could get a win, because I don’t think he would’ve done it if we were down 15.”
But notice in the video guard Nate Robinson responded to Curry’s shimmy with one of his own. Robinson said he couldn’t help it.
ROBINSON: “It was so ugly that I had to join in.”
And what did Mark Jackson think of Curry’s shimmy? Considering the whole thing was probably his fault.
JACKSON: “I tried told in my laugh and stay in coach mode. Now I know why my dad told me to stop doing it.”
You might’ve expected Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who learned Thursday he was not selected as an All-Star reserve, to have one of his captivating performances. You know, prove they were wrong.
Instead, the captivating performance was provided by his backcourt mate Stephen Curry.
The Warriors’ third-year point guard finished with 36 points in Golden State’s 109-101 win over Denver. He was 13 of 17 shooting and had seven assists, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal with just one turnover. Golden State (9-14) snapped a two-game losing streak and got a much-needed road victory.
“You can rave about the shooting, rave about the points,” coach Mark Jackson said of Curry, “but he played the game tonight like he was in total control. … His stat line is a thing of beauty.”
Tuesday’s 119-116 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder was a microcosm for the Warriors’ season thus far, as they failed to capitalize on a grand opportunity.
The Warriors got a career-high 48 points from guard Monta Ellis. Forward David Lee recorded his second-career triple-double (23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists). And the Warriors put a scare into the arguably the best team in the Western Conference.
But when it came down to the end, the Warriors did what it took to lose. Even at home.
Golden State turned it over six times in the fourth quarter. After shooting 59.7 percent through three quarters, they got jumper happy and went 7 for 18 in the fourth, including five missed 3-pointers and just six points in the paint. Ellis, down one with nine seconds left, wound up taking a contested 3-pointer.
“Our effort was there,” Ellis said. “We played them hard the whole game. It came down to one shot. … It was a great shot. Nothing you can do about it. It didn’t go down. It is what it is.”
It’s an all-too familiar feeling for Warriors, seeing one of their former players playing well elsewhere. But who would’ve ever thought former Warriors guard Jeremy Lin, the Bay Area’s own, would be doing this well this soon?
Saturday, he had 25 points and 7 assists in 35 minutes off the bench. Monday, he had 28 points and 8 assists in 45 minutes.
KNICKS COACH MIKE D’ANTONI: “I’m riding him like friggin’ Secretariat.”
Warriors fans are wondering: why again isn’t he a Warrior?
The Warriors’ starting back court broke out of their slump Thursday. Guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry combined for 62 points on 45 shots and six steals, leading Golden State to a comfortable 119-101 win over the Utah Jazz.
On top of that, the Warriors’ back court had some help. Forward David Lee overcame a 2-for-12 start and finished with 23 points. He was a big reason Golden State racked up 71 second-half points, tying the mark for most points in a half by any team this season.