Wins feel good. Wins over teams you need to beat out for the playoffs feel even nicer. The Warriors are 3-1. Crazy. The Warriors have a winning record and are undefeated at home.
Did the Oracle Arena look a little sparse? Was it because of the Grizzlies or because people were still celebrating late after the World Champion San Francisco Giants victory parade? There must have been at least 500,00 people out there, maybe even touching 1,000,000. All I know is that down by the Civic Center it was NUTS and it was totally worth it to take time off work, drive into the city from the South Bay, deal with all the people, and watch the parade up close. Did you go?
Back to the Warriors, they gave a great effort out there tonight with guys hustling, cleaning up the boards, playing hard on D and forcing turnovers. But the big difference in this game? Monta Ellis.
What an incredible game Monta had! 39 points (12-26 FG's and 14-19 FT's), 9 boards, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 4 turnovers. This may be an even better game than his opening night scoring barrage because it was without the help of us backcourt teammate, Stephen Curry, and he had a great all-around game. He even carried the team in the 4th quarter with 17 points. I would like to say that tonight he was trying to prove to the Warriors that they made a good decision by not trading him for OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet, but I really think he's just back to the old Monta after his moped injury and is out to inflict "pain" on opposing teams.
Rudy Gay (35 points) nearly matched Monta point for point. This is a little disturbing because Dorell Wright, who's supposed to be one of defensive guys was covering Gay most of the night. Sometimes you just can't stop a guy who's on fire, but if Wright is able to slow him down, this game isn't even close. Although Wright didn't have such a good defensive game, he had his best offensive game as a Warrior with 25 points, including 7 threes. Great to see that this year he's had the green light to launch 3's because he shoots a good percentage. The more and more Wright plays, the more and more I like his game. So far he's been a great addition to this team.
Nice little bounce back game for our big man. Just 15 points on 17 shots, but he was more active tonight and was a huge reason why the Warriors were able to win the battle of the boards. His 16 rebounds, 9 offensive, were key to the Warriors' 48 to 39 edge on the boards. When Biedrins stinks up the court like he did today, it's a godsend to have a big man who can be counted on for double digit rebound nights.
It's about time the Warriors outshot their opponent on free throws. It sure helps that Monta shot 19 of them and the 34 to 25 free throw advantage was a pleasure to see. Hopefully they make this a trend and get to the line for some easy points.
Mike Conley was rewarded with a 5 year, $40 million contract the other day and I was scratching my head wondering how he got such a big deal. So I looked at the stats and there was nothing special about him. He was an average starting point guard, if that. But so far this year, he's producing quite well and tonight was no exception. His 18 points, 7 boards, 13 assists, and 3 steals were a big reason the Grizzlies stayed in the game.
The Grizzlies seem like a scrappy team. With Conley, Gay, Mayo, and Gasol, they were able to keep it close even without Zach Randolph. They wouldn't go away which is a testament to them. I think Grizzlies teams in the past would have given up.
Last But Not Least...
Keith Smart switched up the starting 5. He brought Rodney Carney into the starting 5 and sat Reggie Williams instead. Normally Reggie comes off the bench but with Curry out, someone needed to step in. This little change might have given Reggie the opportunity he needed. The 16 points are nice, but it was the 8 assists I was most surprised with. He made some nice passes and kept the ball moving.
This one is easy, Monta Ellis.