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Recap #74: Washington Wizards 104 @ Golden State Warriors 114 — Monta! Montay! Monté!

Game Page / TSN boxscore / Bullets Forever

[Sorry for the delay on this, GSoMers; I had a Procrastinators Anonymous meeting to attend].

Perhaps not the "cakewalk" I predicted, but smooth enough sailing. The woeful Wizards made it interesting for a bit, largely due to an eye-popping first half from Javale McGee. But with Monta Ellis doing a very passable Dwyane Wade impression, and David Lee playing more or less like the guy Lacob shelled out $80M for, the Ws basically had this one under control. In sum: another meaningless late-season win, mostly irritating from the perspective of the Tank brigade, but I guess semi-encouraging for anyone looking for some semblance of a foundation to build on for next season. We now know that his team, when healthy, can beat up on injury-ravaged 1-35 road teams at the Oracle.

Make the jump to see how my other oracular pre-game predictions worked out.

1. John Wall shows the usual flashes of brilliance — but the leader in the clubhouse for Best Player in the 2010 draft continues to be ... Landry Fields. Pretty much. I still think Wall is going to end up the best player in the 2010 draft — he's just too gifted not to (and frankly, the competition is fairly weak). But for now he's still very much a work a progress. Sunday night there were the usual quicksilver drives and sweet dishes (12 assists), but in the end: a typically sloppy 5-16 from the floor. On the season, Wall has now managed a desultory .486 true shooting percentage (compare to Fields @ .608). Unless and until he figures out some spots on the floor from which he can score at least moderately efficiently, the Wiz are likely to remain a cellar dweller.

2. Nobody lifts a finger to recommence the "Yi Movement." Yep. I mean, Yi looked tall next to David Lee. And he somehow ended up with 10 boards. Beyond that, he was mostly invisible, as he has been throughout his career, apart from the legendary pre-draft matchup with the chair witnessed by Chad Ford. Let it be said that Brandan "BrokenWing" Wright was not a wise pick for the Warriors in 2007 (dang, how nice would Joakim Noah look on this team?!?) But if Wright at #8 was a bust, Yi at #6 was a Great Wall of Bust. Wright has vastly outperformed Yi in every area except for games played. On the bright side for BrokenWing fans, Wright is still only 23, where Yi is 37.

3. At least one Ws fan in the game thread pines after JaVale McGee. Well, OK, I personally fulfilled my prophecy by entering the thread to do just that. But I also had damn good reason: 28 points on 12 field goal attempts, 18 boards, 5 blocks. And wow, I know I'm inured to smallness and shortness by watching the Warriors all the time, but holy crud is this kid l-o-n-g. At one point an errant shot bounced high over the backboard, and McGee for a moment looked like he had half-a-mind to pluck it out of the stratosphere as it rose over the shot clock. For those who remember the 2008 draft: dang, how nice would JaVale McGee look on team?!? Sigh. Regrets, I've had a few...

4. Ekpe Udoh has the same number of blocks as rebounds. Fortunately, tonight that number is 18. Off by a hair: 7 boards and 3 blocks. Still, as has become a semi-promising trend in his young career, Udoh's positive effect on the game (reflected in plus-minus numbers) belied his rather depressing-looking traditional stats. Despite going 2-7 from the field for 4 points, Udoh was a +13 for the game, tied for best on the team with Dorell Wright. This would mean nothing in and of itself, but on the season, Udoh's adjusted plus-minus remains overwhelmingly positive. It's still a very small sample size, and could still mean nothing. The Foyle-like offense (8.6 pts per 36 on .485 ts%) and Bargnani-like rebounding (6.3 per 36) remain serious concerns. But somehow, the team just looks better and more active, on both ends, when Friday's in the game. I notice it visually, and it's reflected so far in the numbers. Defense is half the game, after all.

5. Monta Ellis plays all 53 minutes — in a non-overtime game. Almost: a mere 48 out of 48. Much more importantly, he was an absolute stud throughout. I'm less impressed than some fans on this site by games where Monta goes into offensive hero-mode and hoists up a ton of shots, a few of which go in. This was not one of those games. Monta played every minute under control, took care of the ball, ran the offense like a true PG, took the ball to the rim with authority, scored whenever needed, played solid defense on Nick Young, and crashed the boards. 37 points on 24 field goal attempts, 13 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 turnovers. I wrote "passable Dwyane Wade impression" in the intro, but heck, this was Wade on a good night. With Stephen Curry struggling and in foul trouble, Monta took control of the game and salted away the W himself (with a little help from Lee and Dorell). An MVP-type game in every respect. And naturally, a big, fat