The Warriors beat the Kings in convincing fashion Wednesday night by the score of 130-98. A 31-3 Warriors run spanning most of the second quarter made it ugly early. During that run, Stephen Curry scored 11 points and dished out 6 assists. Curry finished with 24 points, 15 assists, and six rebounds to bounce back from a bad offensive game against the Lakers the night before. Tyreke Evans, Curry's goateed rookie contemporary, had 17 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Despite Evans' solid game, Curry was the more dominant player and his intuitive passes sparked the Warriors offense. Curry's 15 assists marked a career high.
CJ Watson played the best offensive game of his NBA career, in place of Monta Ellis, making his first eight field goal attempts and paced the Warriors with 21 points in the first half. Watson finished with a career high 40 points on 16/23 shooting.
Perhaps it was the nostalgia of a visit to the Staples Center that inspired Deavan George to play like he did with Shaq, Kobe, Fisher, Horry, and Fox in 2002. George shot 4-6 from three point range, 6-10 from the field, and notched a season high 16 points in place of Correy Maggette. Maggette played limited minutes in the first half and spent the entire second half in the training room due to tightness in his left hamstring.
Stephen Curry Growing
The last two games have caused a fissure in Warriors nation, a splitting of sides: fans who favor Monta Ellis and fans who favor Stephen Curry. The last two Warriors home games have moved some fans into the latter camp. Even when Curry shot the ball poorly against the Lakers, he distributed the ball well enough to keep the Warriors competitive. Curry lacks the explosiveness and ability to create around the rim that Ellis possesses, but Curry's recent play has shown he can facilitate the offense better than Ellis.
The trade deadline passed today and the Warriors chose not to deal anyone (aside from rumored wishes to dump Maggette's contract for the expiring contract of Zydrunas Ilgauskus, which never materialized with the Cavs). Trading Ellis at this point would have been the wrong move on many levels. As good as Curry has looked, Ellis is still the best player on the team. Also, there are too many unanswered questions due to the biblical amount of injuries. The Warriors could have the production they need sitting in street clothes on the bench. Lastly, the Warriors are likely to get a high draft choice, which will another options to the core group of players to rebuild around. If they draft another wing player, trading Ellis might be the path to getting a front court player who can fill a need, if necessary.
It will be interesting when Ellis returns to the starting line-up. Will he take a more hands off approach and less shots for the better of the team, and thus allow Curry to make plays and facilitate? Or will Ellis go back to imposing his will on offense, a style that sometimes discourages ball movement, but accumulates big stats for himself?