RECAP: Golden State Warriors 124, Toronto Raptors 112- Stephen Curry + Monta Ellis- Birth of a Backcourt?

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Back in action.

Raptors HQ

Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, two players whom the Bay Area media don't believe can coexist in the same backcourt, collaborated on an offensive masterpiece that buried the Toronto Raptors in this game.  Ellis had 31 points on 12-22 shooting, including a career high 5 three-pointers.  Stephen Curry had one of his best games this season, with 35 points, 5-8 from three, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals.  That's a stat line that will get you noticed in fantasy leagues!

What was most impressive about this performance was how well Ellis and Curry worked together.  The ball flowed beautifully between them, with the result that very little of their offense seemed forced.  With Curry having grown into the point-guard role, and doing most of the ball-handling, Monta played one of his most controlled games of the season. He committed only 3 turnovers, and Curry only 2, as the Warriors won the turnover battle 17-11.  In a game where the Raptors outshot the Warriors 57% to 47%, this was huge.

Jump for some salivating!

Was this game our first real glimpse of the premier NBA backcourt of the future?  It should be noted that it is already, in Stephen Curry's first season, the highest scoring backcourt in the NBA.  Both players are in the top 10 in the league in steals, and should be near the top of the league in combined assists and rebounds.  I heard Fitz say that they lead the league in "productivity."  I'm not sure what that means, particularly coming from such a noted authority, but I'm sure some stat phreak can analyze it for us.  What I am sure of is what my eyes tell me.  And that is that Ellis and Curry, playing together, could turn into one of the great guard tandems in NBA history.  

But they're too small!  They can't defend!  That's the refrain we hear from Bay Area pundits.  I have a simple answer to that:  Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe.  Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.  Steve Nash and Nick van Exel. 

But Monta Ellis doesn't want to play with Curry!  Another constant refrain.  To which I have to ask, are we so sure about that?  I'm guessing that Monta sees quite clearly now why Don Nelson drafted Curry.  And I'm guessing that he understands very well right now how easy Curry can make the game for him.  In this game alone, Monta got at least two of his threes on pinpoint feeds from Curry.

Package the Warriors lottery pick for a legitimate NBA big man, and then ask Monta Ellis what he thinks. I think he'll think what I think: Playoffs.

 

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Shouldn't that jersey read 0-2?

 

Random Observations:

The Raptors stink: No defense, no rebounding, and no shooters is an interesting way to build a team.  The Warriors, a team that has lost the rebounding battle by an average of 20 over the last 5 games, outrebounded the Raptors.  That's pathetic.  Fearless prediction: No playoffs.  Not so fearless prediction: Bosh is gone.

 

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One of the Ant's 5 fouls.  Right, ref?

Anthony Tolliver:  Shot a miserable 2-12, that included blowing several great feeds from Curry under the basket.  And yet he may have been the third most important contributor to this win.  Nellie singled him out for praise post-game, saying he played "a heck of a game."  Tolliver guarded, rebounded and stayed out of foul trouble.  Take a look at that +21.  Does +21 and 11 boards constitute a double-double?

Chris Hunter:  Also had a nice game.  His putback slam to close the 3rd really made me believe the Warriors would win. 8 rebounds in 15 minutes.  Can he repeat that against a real NBA team? 

Stephen Curry highlights:  Splitting the trap on the pick and roll and the teardrop finish high off glass at 3:10 of the fourth. I'd rather watch that than a dunk any day.  

The play where he stole the ball at midcourt, and then saved it from going out of bounds with a blind left-handed behind-the-back pass to Corey Maggette for the layup.  OK fine, the ridiculous degree of difficulty.  We've seen it before. But how in the world did he know exactly where to fling that pass?  A basketball savant.

Reggie Williams v. Anthony Morrow:  Williams is stealing time from Morrow, because he's been outplaying him on both ends of the court.  Is this something to be interested in?  Can the Warriors even hold on to Williams once his second 10-day contract runs out?  Or would they have to cut another expiring contract to sign him?

I like to watch Morrow shoot, but watching Williams' tremendous offensive versatility makes me wonder just how valuable Morrow really is.  He's still a long way from deserving big minutes.

Don Nelson:  Anyone else see Nellie pace the sideline for the entire fourth quarter?  Not sure I've seen that before this season.  He wanted this win.

Marco Belinelli:  Hey, maybe Don Nelson's not an idiot.

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via assets.sbnation.com

Monta Ellis deserves consideration, particularly for carrying the team in the second quarter while Curry rested, and for his fourth quarter defense. But for me, Stephen Curry was the guy tonight.

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