Game 13, The Wrapup (Warriors 111, Mavericks 103): Monta Ellis, exploder of myths
By Geoff Lepper
When Monta Ellis came into the league, there was a school of thought (with his own coach being one of the adherents) that he wouldn’t succeed in the NBA because all he did in high school was just break down some poor, under-equipped defender from the Jackson Public Schools league and get to the rim.
He can’t do that in The League, the doubters said. Not regularly, anyways.
OK, so that myth just exploded on Tuesday.
Not only is Ellis succeeding, wildly, using that same style that made him a U.S. high school co-Player of the Year (along with Greg Oden) in 2005. He’s doing so under some ridiculously adverse conditions, such as leading a six-man crew to a 111-103 victory, on the road, against a Dallas team that had won 10 of 13 to open up.
At the start of the season, Ellis was splitting duties as the Warriors’ offensive initiator. He would control approximately one-third of the possessions, with Stephen Jackson getting another third and Stephen Curry the final piece.
In the Warriors’ four Jackson-less games, Ellis’ numbers have shot up dramatically: He’s taking 15 percent more FGAs per 36 minutes (20.0 vs. 17.3). Combine that with a 25 percent increase in minutes per contest (45.6 vs. 36.5), and you see why he just completed his third career set of back-to-back 30-point games.
Even more importantly, Ellis is not being tasked with running S/Rs or anything else that takes him away from that primary goal of slicing through the heart of the defense. This is a great marriage of taking the one skill that most makes Ellis an elite player and working it to death. That’s the way you exploit a mismatch. It’s classic Nellieball, even if Don Nelson is at home with pneumonia.
With Ellis constantly pushing, the Warriors have succeeded in forcing the Blazers and Mavs to play Golden State’s pace. That, in turn, has led to a high number of turnovers (season-high 18 for Dallas, season-second-high 23 for Portland), which, in turn, refuels the Warriors’ offense.
Teams will undoubtedly start making adjustments to the Ellis-centric attack, presumably beginning with an early double to force the ball out of his hands. I can’t think tonight in San Antonio, where Golden State will face a rested Spurs team and a savvy coach in Gregg Popovich, that Ellis will find the same kind of unimpeded access to the lane.
On the other hand, San Antonio is 6-6 despite a friendly schedule front-loaded with home games, and if the Warriors are ever going to break a road losing streak that’s at 22 games and counting, this might be the right time to dream.
Notes from a night spent on watching from 1,500 miles away:
** Stephen Curry came up huge in the fourth quarter, at least at the offensive end. The one-legged floater over Dirk Nowitzki, kissing high off the glass and nestling softly into the hoop, was just a thing of beauty.
In the Warriors’ new world order, Curry loses out on his initiating duties and becomes more of a spot-up shooter, which isn’t ideal since his pull-up ability is one of the strongest facets of his game. It’ll be interesting to see, when Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf come back, if Curry becomes the go-to S/R small, filling Jackson’s role in that set. That would get him some clean looks in the mid-range and also put his passing skills to good use while still letting Ellis run wild with the majority of possessions as the No. 1 option.
** All that being said, Curry is really getting chewed up defensively. He can’t stay with people, can’t get around screens and can’t hold his ground when posted up. The Warriors can try to hide him, but they already have to do that to some extent with Anthony Morrow. Until one of those two makes some strides on D, I’m not going to start making playoff reservations for the Warriors.
** Speaking of Curry, he picked up his fifth foul with 4:41 to go. Now, maybe Dallas coach Rick Carlisle didn’t think it was important to get Curry off the floor, but I can’t understand why you don’t simply isolate whomever Curry is guarding and force the ball to him on the low post. You do that, and foul Curry out, then the Warriors either have to go big with Mikki Moore or bring in either Corey Maggette or Chris Hunter, stone-cold, off the bench.
** Vladimir Radmanovic is not nearly as one-dimensional as I had imagined. Sure, plenty of those team-high 12 rebounds fell into his lap, but if you don’t at least block out and gets prepared to grab the ball, someone else will sneak in and get it.
** Interesting +/- facts: Obviously, Ellis, Morrow and Radmanovic were all plus-8, having played the entire game. Curry had a team-high plus-16, Anthony Randolph was a plus-12, but Moore was a minus-12 in 30:47 on the floor. The Warriors outscored the Mavs by 20 for the 17:13 Moore was on the bench.
** Golden State hasn’t won in San Antonio since 1997, the year the Spurs tanked and went 20-62.
Put another way: Tim Duncan has NEVER suffered a home defeat to the Warriors in his entire NBA career.
4 Responses to “Game 13, The Wrapup (Warriors 111, Mavericks 103): Monta Ellis, exploder of myths”
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J Canseco November 25th, 2009 at 2:11 pm
Geoff, do you think the Dubs are reconsidering an Ellis trade? I sure hope so.
Geoff Lepper November 25th, 2009 at 4:37 pm
@J Canseco: Since Monta has not been playing out his force-a-trade talk in public, we don’t know how irreparable the damage has been to their relationship; much depends on how desperate the team thinks the situation is.
To me, I don’t think you can afford to just cast him off in a salary dump. That’s too much of a talent hit on top of selling off/letting walk Jack, Al, JR, BD, Barnes, Pietrus, etc., etc.
cheesy poofs 5000 November 25th, 2009 at 6:45 pm
“but I can’t understand why you don’t simply isolate whomever Curry is guarding and force the ball to him on the low post.”
probably b/c the guy he was guarding was JJ Barea. not much in the post & you’re taking it out of your best players hands just to try to get a rookie PG to foul out.
with the Mavs injuries the alternative is a rookie, Beaubois (who i also doubt has a post game) and Carlisle is like most vet coaches, he’s not going to play a rookie who isn’t an all-star threat over a vet that he trusts. they could have tried going big, but it’s difficult to play the loose zone that dallas was playing to cover the 3 pt line with slow players.
their real problem is blown assignments on defense - leaving Curry open and 2 ppl jumping on a fake pass and allowing Monta to drive in for a lay up uncontested. also fell victim to a lucky bounce on the Randolph strip that went right to Monta for a lay up.
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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