Remember when Kobe scored 81 points that night? I can’t remember who it was against. I do know that it wasn’t against a powerhouse team like the Thunder are now, but even the crappiest team in the NBA are filled with 12-15 guys who can play at an elite level. They are still NBA players and they are still better than your average.
What Monta Ellis did was unbelievable last night for a variety of reasons. The player scored 48 points, almost leading his team to victory. He did this while undersized than most two guards, he doesn’t have the best shooting touch and he is definitely does not have the same skill as Kobe. Kobe is a killer machine, there isn’t any argument there. While he’s getting older and taking tons of shots, he still is productive and I guarantee that if he said he’d play for the Warriors, there is no doubt this fan base would embrace him like his own.
But Monta may be is a younger version of that. His shoot first, ask questions later mentality led him to shoot 29 shots and connecting on 18 of them. He shot 9-10 from the charity strip and hit only three threes. That is nuts. You think that if someone scores 48 points, they would have at least hit 6-8 threes. The guy also had seven boards, two assists, two steals and one block. He had a busy night. Too bad it wasn’t enough.
The Warriors took control of the game from the tip-off, jumping out to an eight point lead. But the Thunder stayed within the game and they were up at halftime. Monta never slowed down or more precisely, the Thunder couldn’t slow Monta down and he continue his outpour into the second half. In the third quarter, Ellis himself converted a three point play and Dorell Wright hit a three to push the lead 80-68, in favor of the Warriors. But the Thunder stormed back. After Ellis converted another three point play, the Thunder’s Daequan Cook hit a three, followed by buckets from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to give the Thunder the lead 115-112. Wright then made one free throw and while Durant missed the next shot, Ellis grabbed the rebound raced up the court, finished and was fouled again. He converted the free throw, giving the Warriors a one point lead with out 22 seconds left in the game. Then mental mistakes gave the Thunder two chances to steal a win. Playing decent defense, the Warriors forced Durant into a tough shot only to have the ball bounce and go off them underneath the basket. Durant didn’t miss on his second chance as he came off a screen and banked home the game winning shot. The Warriors had two chances to either tie or take the lead. But Ellis’ three was off the mark and Westbrook flushed home two free throws to put the Thunder by three. Brandon Rush ended up taking the last shot of the game and did not hit.
David Lee came to play as he registered his second triple double of his career. Playing the most minutes at 44, he chipped in with 25 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. He was also a 100% from the strip as he shot 7-7. Stephen Curry had a modest night with 16 points, seven boards and 10 assists. He also got two steals. Again, (I really really dislike Andris Beidrins) Beidrins had a big fat donut across the board. Not even one board!!! The only reason he is in the stat book is because he had one steal, five fouls and was in the starting lineup. Thank goodness he only played 14 minutes, but they need more production than that in 14 minutes. In the last five games, he’s averaged one point per game. Last time they played the Thunder he also had donuts across the board. And if his play and lack of production isn’t irritating enough, his contract should be a good reason to get rid of him.The guy is making $9 million dollars this year, with three years remaining. That’s $27 million dollars going down the drain. The guy sucks and the Warriors are wasting money. Let’s use next years amnesty clause on this guy! Get him out of here! Free up the cap space and get a more productive center. Productive doesn’t mean scoring 15-20 points a night, but being a better defensive presence and dominating the boards, even if it is just on the defensive end.
Again, Dorell Wright is a roller coaster with his game. He finished the night with a measly nine points, but he did grab six boards, passed out four assists and had to steals. However, these are not eye popping numbers, especially after he hit six threes and finished with twenty some odd points the last couple of games. Seems like he shows up for crappy teams and against the elite, he disappears.
The bench did little to spell the starters. Although Brandon Rush did score the same amount as Wright in 12 less minutes. I think that says something about Wright. And Ekpe Udoh also scored six more points than Beidrins in pretty much the same amount. He did grab one extra rebound and he also shot eight times. Now if 5 or 6 of those shots went in, he’d finish the night with 10-12 points, which is good for someone coming off the bench. I almost want to suggest to Mark Jackson to have Beidrins come off the bench and insert Udoh. But the bench was also missing Nate Robinson. He did not play with a groin injury and his scoring punch and rat like defense was sorely missed. He could have spelled Ellis or Curry for more than a couple of minutes, which might have helped Ellis at the end of the game. No matter if he said he wasn’t tired, your legs are tired. After his acrobatic finishes and chasing the offensive players, every normal human will be tired.
The Warriors let a game slip out of their hands and after so many “woulda, coulda, shoudla” even the players are getting anxious on when they can close out big games. They played really well as a team. In every statiscial category, they were about dead even with the Thunder, even beating them in the boards by three and dishing out four more assists. But the Thunder hit 11 threes which help them keep in the game.
While the Warriors can dwell and think about this lost chance, they’ll have to do it fast. The Warriors play the Nuggets in Denver on Thursday at 6:00 pm PST. This is the first meeting of the year between the two teams. In the last five games for the Nuggets, they have a 1-4 record. A good time for the Warriors to keep on beating someone who is already down.