Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Warriors beat Kings in overtime, Ellis scores 36

Certain games are turning points in a team's season. For instance, the game when the Miami Heat and the maligned LeBron James returned to Cleveland to play the Cavs. James burned his former squad and the Heat trounced the inferior Cleveland Cavs. The Heat were a different team after that game, their chemistry was better. The animosity toward James helped Miami form stronger bonds. I have your back and you have mine.

The Warriors turned a corner with the overtime win in Sacramento Dec. 21.

They outplayed the Kings for the first quarter and a half. They held the Kings (Outside of Beno Udrich) to low field goal percentage and ran the floor to hold a lead for most of eight to 10 points most of the way through the first half. Then came the meltdown. Just like the night before against the Rockets. Sacramento finished the first half on a 9-0 run and took the momentum into their locker room at the half.

Here we go again. I can't watch this. These were the sentiments of Warriors fans as the Kings got right back into the game. The Warriors slowed their pace and started doing that fouling thing again. Turnovers added to a demoralizing third quarter.

Neither team could finish the other off, no matter how many opportunities they had to step on the throat. The Kings let the Warriors back into the game in the fourth quarter. Vladamir Radmanovic gave the Warriors a huge boost off the bench with 15 points and the biggest shot of the season, a game tying three point heave from 31 feet as regular time expired. Radmanovic, who has been a non-factor this season, showed he is capable of providing much needed bench scoring. I'd like to see Vlad share minutes with Dorell Wright at the small forward position, especially when Biedrins comes back.

Monta Ellis should be an All-Star this year. He scored 44 Dec. 20 on the Rockets and followed that with 36 on the Kings. Ellis put the Warriors on his back and carried them through poor play. Like a true superstar, he took control of the game in overtime and dominated.

If the Warriors would have lost this game, the story would have been about how they blew an 11 point lead in the first half and imploded. The story would have been about disappointment and frustration. A win over the Kings is nothing to brag about, but a loss would have been back-breaking.

The energy from a dramatic win like this will carry over into the next game against the Blazers, when the Warriors are expected to get Steph Curry back. I expect the Warriors to beat the Blazers and carry this momentum further into the season. The Warriors won beat the Kings by getting a contribution from every player who played. Ekpe Udoh didn't score, but protected the rim. Reggie and Vlad brought points. A.C. Law bought Ellis some rest. David Lee is hockey tough and, along with Ellis, is the rock of this team. When Curry returns, this team will contend with the good teams in this league.

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