News » Monta Ellis' 42 not enough for Golden State Warriors

Monta Ellis' 42 not enough for Golden State Warriors

Monta Ellis' 42 not enough for Golden State Warriors SAN ANTONIO One player stood out most Wednesday night at the AT&T Center. For most of the game, he looked flat-out unstoppable.

It wasn't Tim Duncan, the man many consider the greatest power forward ever. Nor was it Tony Parker, the lone perennial All-Star point guard on the court.

The best player on the court was, unquestionably, Warriors guard Monta Ellis.

His career-high-tying 42-point effort was hardly enough to keep the Warriors from dropping their 23rd consecutive game at San Antonio, 118-104.

But it did underline to emerging truths for the Warriors : (a) Ellis is looking like a legit star; and (b) the Warriors have to find him some consistent help.

"Monta's been amazing the last couple of games," said assistant coach Keith Smart, serving as head coach for the second straight game while Don Nelson recovers from pneumonia.

"Just didn't have enough, didn't have enough left in the tank. We needed someone else to play very, very good tonight for us to have a shot."

For the first time in his career, Ellis reached at least 30 points in three consecutive games. The last Warrior to pull off such a feat was Antawn Jamison, who did it Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 2002.

Ellis is averaging 28.9 points on 50 percent shooting over his past seven games. He is averaging 30.8 since forward Stephen Jackson was shipped out of town Nov. 16. But Wednesday, he needed help, and none showed up.

Part of the reason was the Warriors were short-handed and playing a back-to-back set on the road against two playoff-caliber teams. They just ran out of gas. But another reason is the Warriors without Jackson are in search of another reliable option.

Forward Corey Maggette provides instant offense off the bench, but his minutes are limited by his injury history. The other real options second-year guard Anthony Morrow, rookie guard Stephen Curry and second-year forward Anthony Randolph are young players trying to figure out how to be consistently productive.

Morrow had 27 points in the win over Dallas on Tuesday. But Wednesday, he had eight points in 33 minutes. Curry scored 11 of his 18 in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks, including several clutch baskets down the stretch. Wednesday, he had 11 points on 5-for-16 shooting. Randolph, who had 12 points and seven rebounds Wednesday, is still trying to earn regular minutes.

Ellis carried the Warriors all game, using his quickness and craftiness to get to the basket, and his scoring knack to finish against, perennially, one of the league's best defenses.

Eventually, Ellis started facing double teams, traps, and full-court pressure. With the extra attention, plus the wear of playing 40-plus minutes for the fifth consecutive game, Ellis found that scoring became progressively harder.

At that point, the Warriors needed execution and playmaking. Instead, they got turnovers and ill-advised shots.

San Antonio's lead was 100-88 after a Maggette layup three minutes into the fourth. But over the next two-plus minutes, the Warriors got two missed long jumpers from Maggette and one from Randolph, and a turnover apiece by Curry and Randolph. By the time Roger Mason nailed a 21-footer, the Spurs' lead had ballooned to 22 points.

Ellis had one attempt during that stretch, but his driving layup was blocked.

"We do need that," Curry said regarding a sidekick for Ellis. "If he's going for 40 and we're right there every night staying level with our opponent, then the next person has to step up and make plays. Like (Tuesday) night. He kept us in the game, and then we made big plays down the stretch. We just didn't have that tonight."

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Added: November 26, 2009


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