Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warriors top Pacers, Monta hits game winner

The win over the Pacers Jan. 19 was one of the most dramatic wins for the Warriors all season, maybe second to the Dec. 21 come-from-behind overtime win against the Kings.

The 16-23 Pacers are better than what their record suggests and are probably the only team that has road wins against the Lakers and Heat. The Pacers set a physical tone in the first quarter, specifically Tyler Hansbrough, and punished the Warriors for not boxing out. The former North Carolina Tarheel scored 12 points in the first quarter and exposed the Warriors for playing soft defense.

The Pacers went on a 19-2 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second. The most glaring problem for the W's in this game was the lack of bench production. During the Pacers big first half run, the bench went 0-7 from the field. As usual, Monta Ellis came to the rescue and put the Warriors on his back with an eight point flurry to end the second quarter on a 10-2 run.

With 3:12 left in the third quarter, the Warriors were still without a single point from a non-starter.

After a poorly played second quarter, the Warriors picked up the defense in the third and forced the Pacers to turn the ball over.

With 1:15 left in the game and the score tied at 105, what would be the deciding statistic of this game?Would the Pacers points at the free throw line (25-14) be enough to overcome all their turnovers? (20 to the Warriors 12)

If the Warriors could get production from the bench, just a morsel, it would be enough. That morsel came from the energy of Brandan Wright, who entered the game for Andris Biedrins in the fourth quarter. Wright grabbed four big rebounds and scored six points on 3/3 shooting. B-Wright surely earned some more playing time with the boost he gave his team down the stretch. A.C. Law also contributed 7 points and made both of the three pointers he attempted, one of them a half court shot to end the third quarter.

Reggie Williams and Vlad Radmanovic struggled and combined to shoot 0-7 from the field and 0-5 from three point range. Both players need to stay aggressive and continue to go to the rim, Williams especially. Reggie is the type of player who can get himself to the foul line when he makes his mind up to drive. The Warriors need to get to the foul line more and that will only happen if players like Williams stay aggressive.

The Pacers could have won this game and were up by as much as 11 points, but they could not stop the Warriors from making plays when it mattered the most.

Monta Ellis missed a jumper with under a minute left, but David Lee fought to keep the possession alive and got the ball back out to Steph Curry, who hit a runner to put the Warriors up 108-105 with 21 seconds in the game. Curry, foolishly fouled Darren Collison on a lay-up and allowed Indiana's point guard to convert a three point play. It wouldn't matter. With the game tied at 108, everyone knew Monta would have the ball in his hands. He hit a tough fadeaway jumper in Danny Granger's face with .06 on the clock and it would be the last make of the game to give the Warriors a third consecutive victory.
Monta continues to prove he is unstoppable with the ball in his hands, as he finished with a game high 36 points, outplayed Danny Granger, and hit the biggest shot of the game. He continues to put up big scoring totals and carry the Warriors when needed. I strongly believe Ellis will be elected as an All-Star reserve. If he doesn't...I strongly question the integrity of the All-Star event.

No comments: