A few random thoughts and numbers from the Warriors’ 113-104 loss to the Bucks in which Stephen Curry fouled out but still finished the game:
— There’s a big push in and around Warriorland for Monta Ellis to make the All-Star team. But what about Corey Maggette?
His overall season averages of 19.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game won’t get it done, but look at what he’s done in January. After Friday night’s 32-point, 9-rebound game in which he went 10-of-14 from the floor and 12-of-13 from the line, he’s averaging 28.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, shooting 90.2 percent from the line and 56 percent from the field in 2010.
When the season started, Maggette was a ball hog who took every shot he could and was about one more bad 3-pointer away from being run out of town. Now, he’s a scoring machine who is probably the player the Warriors can count on the most to deliver when they desperately need a score.
Start up the Maggette for All-Star campaign.
— Speaking of Ellis, it was another fine night of 33 points and eight assists. He also added another highlight to his growing reel when he spun away from one defender at the elbow, drove through the lane, split a pair of Bucks, went up with the ball in his right hand, switched to his left, and tossed in a reverse layup.
It was even better than the over-the-head shot from the tunnel that he made — four times after Friday’s shootaround.
— Curry may be a defensive liability against a big post-up guard, but against a smaller guy like Brandon Jennings, he’s more than capable as a defender.
Curry, who played all 48 minutes, including the last four seconds after he fouled out, kept constant pressure on Jennings throughout the night. He fought through screens, beat Jennings to spots on the floor where the Bucks rookie wanted to get, chased him well beyond the 3-point line and was, in general, a pest whenever Jennings put the ball on the floor.
Curry, matched up against Jennings whenever he was in the game, recorded six steals and forced Jennings into seven turnovers. Jennings did hit the big 3-pointer at the end and finished with 25 points, but it didn’t come easy. Jennings, pumped up to play the Warriors after scoring 55 against them in their first meeting and hearing how the Warriors weren’t going to let him get loose again, finished 7-of-16 on Friday. His 25 points were actually four fewer than he scored in the third quarter alone in the first meeting.
— Curry also added 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. It was close, but give the battle of the rookies, part II, to Curry.
(Answering a question from a recent post: Curry’s rookie contract is for four years if the Warriors decide to pick up the team options for the final two, which I’m sure they will.)
— You might have missed it as the big number worth monitoring for Andris Biedrins was his fouls, but he actually finished with a double-double, getting 10 points and 10 rebounds. He averaged double figures in each last year but this is his first double-double this year, setting a season-high in points and tying his high in rebounds. He also had three blocks in 34 minutes, his longest outing since his return from injury.
— Devean George tried and gave the Warriors a season-high 19 minutes when no one else was available. But did you see him when he stole that ball and tried to lead a fastbreak. It was like he was in slow motion. Injuries and age have taken their toll.
— Going in high speed however, was Ellis. Late in the fourth quarter, after Biedrins dove on defense to knock a ball into the backcourt, Ellis raced past Jennings to track down the loose ball. Remember, Ellis leads the league in minutes and had played the entire game — and still shot past the mercurial rookie. Ellis is all heart — and a lot of speed.
— One person I know said Jennings had a little Bart Simpson look to him Friday. I’d have to agree.
— Don Nelson spoke before the game about not really having a back-up power forward because of all the injuries. And that’s considering Maggette is the starting power forward. Then, when Biedrins fouled out, they didn’t have any big men. At that point, the last five Warriors standing were simply basketball players without positions. It’s cruel, really.