David Lee Assumes Star’s Role in Warriors Win at Cleveland

CLEVELAND — He scored a game-high 29 points. He put up 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a shot clock-beating, nail-in-the-coffin 18-footer with 44.8 seconds left.

But the scoring star of the Warriors’ 105-95 victory here Tuesday night wasn’t who you might expect.

“It wasn’t my night,” guard Monta Ellis said. “It was David Lee’s.”

Ellis had one of his worst offensive performances of the season. He made just 2 of 12 from the field and finished with 10 points.

He left the game with 35.2 seconds left after taking an elbow to the nose from Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao. With the game was already decided, Ellis didn’t return. X-rays were negative as he suffered just a cut.

With Ellis having an off night, and point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) in street clothes for the seventh consecutive game, the Warriors (5-8) still managed enough offense to outscore the Cavaliers.

You can thank Lee, who also had nine rebounds as Golden State won back-to-back games road games for the first time since November 2010.

Tuesday night continued a torrid stretch for Lee. Over his last five games, Lee is averaging 24.6 points on 64.3 percent shooting. He’s also averaging 11.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

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Game #39 (12-27): Warriors 114, Bulls 97

How about this for a change of pace: the Warriors didn’t fall apart in the third quarter and pulled away in the fourth.

Warriors won the third quarter and outscored Chicago 60-44 in the second half, a detour from the trend of hot starts and third quarter meltdowns. And they did it all with virtually six players: Ellis, Maggette, Curry, Biedrins and D-Leaguers Cartier Martin and Anthony Tollilver (Devean George started and played 5:39, and Chris Hunter played 8:51 off the bench). Ellis/Maggette/Curry combined for 94 points on 34-for-71 shooting.

NELLIE: “So here we are, limited. Just about 7 and a half players, but we found a way. That’s good. As you guys know, we’ve actually been playing decently. Usually have had pretty good first halves and then the third quarter has been a problem for us. But tonight we won the third quarter and we had a big fourth quarter. So a very good game for us.”

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Ellis’ All-Star Chances Take A Hit

I just saw this, but the fourth returns from the NBA All-Star balloting was announced Thursday. It doesn’t look good for Monta Ellis’ All-Star chances.

The fourth and final update saw that Houston Rockets guard Tracy McGrady, who has totaled 47 minutes of playing time this season, still in the starting lineup. Ellis really needs Phoenix PG Steve Nash to be named a starter to have a legitimate chance.

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Baron’s All-Star Hopes Still Alive?

It looks like Kobe Bryant’s hand is bothering him to the point he may be a scratch from the All-Star Game. He reaggravated his dislocated pinkie and has all but ruled out his presence in the 3-point shootout. He still hasn’t decided if he’ll play in the game, but the Los Angeles Times reported that Kobe has been telling teammates he’s not going to.
“We’d like him not to play,” Jackson said. “But that has to be a determination that’ll probably be medical more than anything else.”
If Kobe is too injured to play, the league could replace him. It’s commissioner David Stern’s call on who will replace him, but the big snub this year is B. Diddy. Kobe said he still planned on going to New Orleans regardless, something the league would love because of his appeal.


No All-Star Love for Baron

According to a source close to Baron Davis, the Warriors starting point guard was not voted on by coaches as a reserve.
The official announcement comes tonight on TNT.
Davis was no doubt passed up in favor of Steve Nash, Chris Paul and possibly Portland’s Brandon Roy. Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant were voted in by the fans as the starting guards. Davis still could make the team if injury prevents a selected player from participating. Commissioner David Stern selects injury replaces.


Vote Nash, vote often?

Probably the last thing Warriors fans want to do is show support to a point guard other than their own Baron Davis, but if you’re a GS faithful and want to see BD in the All-Star Game next month, start clicking for Steve Nash instead of your own star.

The reasoning is this: Nash is one of only two guards who are mortal locks to make the Western Conference squad. (The other is Kobe Bryant.) Chris Paul is a near-certainty, but not quite at that same level. Everyone else (Baron, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Allen Iverson, Brandon Roy, Deron Williams, etc.) is a step below, fighting for one and maybe two more spots.

As of the update released Jan. 10, Houston’s Tracy McGrady was second in balloting among Western Conference guards with 907,639 votes and stood to be named a starter. Now, McGrady would never get chosen by the WC coaches as a reserve, not after missing as much time as he has this season. So if McGrady gets knocked out of that spot, Davis’ chances become that much better.

That’s especially true if McGrady were to be bumped by Nash, who was fourth at 808,995 votes, instead of Iverson (third at 827,273). If Nash wins a starting spot, that would mean that probably two at-large berths will be available for that group of guys chasing Paul.

If Nash fails, it’s hard to see how Baron gets on the team. At that point, it’s four guys in (Kobe, McGrady, Paul and Nash) with one spot available, and I can’t believe the coaches will leave off Roy in favor of BD. (One caveat: If McGrady is hurt badly enough that he can’t play, then it becomes a David Stern-judged horse race between AI and BD to replace him, and I think BD could win that.)

– Geoff