Now it’s a no call?
Just two weeks after getting homered in Denver, the Golden State Warriors could have expected a little home cooking of their own on Wednesday at Oracle. Instead, the right call was made this time and again it worked to the Nuggets’ advantage, leading to a 123-118 overtime victory.
With the game tied at 105 with two seconds left in regulation, the Warriors made a long in-bounds pass to recent calll-up Anthony Tolliver, who was bumped as he caught the ball just inside of halfcourt. Tolliver then turned and threw up a desperation shot at the buzzer. The shot wasn’t close but there was enough contact from the defender to warrant a reaction and argument from the Warriors — especially in the wake of the Jan. 5 call against Monta Ellis when he swiped at the ball but didn’t appear to touch J.R. Smith in the closing seconds of the Nuggets’ one-point win after Smith was awarded three free throws on the play.
Should there have been a foul called Wednesday? No. But should there have been a foul called on Ellis two weeks ago? No.
Reverse those calls and the Warriors go 2-0 against perhaps the second-best team in the West. Instead, they’re 0-2 and 12-28 overall. Consider Wednesday night’s no-call a case of a bad team and an unknown player not getting the benefit of home-court advantage.
Still, the game went overtime and the Warriors had a chance.
Ellis’ third 3-pointer of the night put the Warriors up 117-116 with 45 seconds left. But that man, Smith, answered with a 3 of his own when he lost Stephen Curry behind a screen to put the Nuggets up 119-117. Ellis then drew a foul and went to the line with a chance to tie. With the crowd chanting “M-V-P,” Ellis hit the first but missed the second.
Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony then each made a pair of free throws for the Nuggets and the Warriors missed a pair of 3-pointers to give the Nuggets the win.
More notes from a tough loss:
— Tolliver, who was playing the Development League last Friday, was the first guy to get open at the end of regulation so I see why he took that big shot. But then, with the Warriors down three with time running out in overtime, he takes another 3-pointer? And the next time down, Cartier Martin fires up a 3-pointer? This team relies on Ellis, Curry and Corey Maggette. That’s why they play so many minutes and take so many shots. One of them should have had the ball at the end of overtime.
— The Nuggets grabbed eight offensive rebounds in the final seven minutes (last two minutes of regulation and overtime). Those offensive rebounds led to nine points.
— Andris Biedrins fouled out with 1:39 left in overtime after grabbing 13 rebounds. The Nuggets, who had a 55-44 edge in rebounding overall, outrebounded the Warriors 5-0 the rest of the way.
— Word is spreading around the league that Ellis is developing into a superstar. He played all 53 minutes on Wednesday and scored a game-high 39 points with 10 assists and six rebounds. He’s a legitimate All-Star candidate. So why is it that the refs don’t know it? That foul at the end of the third quarter was bogus and would never be called on someone like Kobe Bryant. Come on refs, give the kid his due.
— Ellis has played all 101 minutes the past two games and has dished out eight assists or more in three straight games. He’s also taken a total of 67 shots the past two games after putting up 39 on Monday and 28 more on Wednesday.
— Maggette continued his stellar play with 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field, 12-of-12 from the line, nine rebounds and six assists. He’s been as unstoppable as Ellis.
— Devean George played 40 minutes as one of only eight healthy Warriors. He hit a couple big shots early, but couldn’t get anything to fall late. You know the Warriors are in trouble when George is playing 40 minutes.
— Curry struggled with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting but made a big 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter and another that gave the Warriors a 114-113 lead in overtime. He has no fear. And a flare for the dramatic. One of these days he’s going to hit a game-winning shot — and act like he’s done it a million times.
— The Warriors’ big three of Ellis, Maggette and Curry combined for 87 points on Wednesday. Since January 1, they are the highest-scoring trio in the league at 75.5 points per game prior to Wednesday’s contest. The Nuggets’ Anthony, Billups and Ty Lawson (four games) were second at 73.0. Next closest was the Blazers’ group of Brandon Roy, Andre Miller and Martell Webster at 64.1.
— A little follow up to Ellis’ 39-shot effort against the Bulls on Monday. According to basketball-reference.com, it’s just the fourth time since 1986-87 (the start of their database) that a player took as many as 39 shots without scoring at least 40 points. The others: Michael Jordan (twice) and Dominique Wilkins. In 1997, Jordan took 39 shots and scored only 29 points. In that same span, a player has taken at least 39 shots 32 times. The list of which Ellis is now a member: Kobe Bryant (10), Michael Jordan (9), Allen Iverson (3), Dominique Wilkins (2), Dale Ellis, Dwyane Wade, Chris Webber, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Zach Randolph and Monta Ellis.
— In eight games in January, Ellis is averaging 46.2 minutes and has played fewer than 45 just once.
— The Warriors are 2-4 on their seven-game homestand and close it out Friday against the Nets, who are 3-38 after Wednesday’s loss in Phoenix.