Friday, February 4, 2011

Ellis not an All-Star but leads Warriors over Bucks

Warriors guard Monta Ellis was true to his word.

After being left off of the Western Conference All-Star team Thursday, Ellis said his focus remained on taking the Warriors to the playoffs, not individually proving the naysayers wrong.

Then, he went out and controlled the game against Milwaukee, refusing to force his own shot but instead quarterbacking an offensive plan in place of struggling Stephen Curry and leading the Warriors to a 100-94 victory in front of 18,008 at Oracle Arena.

On a night when Ellis could have had plenty of motivation to try to pile up points, he instead scored 24 to go along with five rebounds and six assists.

His shot was awry for the third consecutive game, but he found his stroke in the clutch. Ellis scored on a running scoop shot and followed a Vladimir Radmanovic steal with a dunk that gave the Warriors a 92-86 lead with 1:43 remaining.

Former Warriors forward Corey Maggette sandwiched six consecutive Milwaukee points around a Radmanovic runner to close the gap to 94-92 with 33 seconds remaining. Then, Ellis lost Ersan Ilyasova with a hesitation dribble and stepped back for a 19-footer that put the Warriors ahead 96-92.

It was an All-Star play from a guy who hasn't been granted the title just yet.

"It's all right. We've still got a chance to make the playoffs, so I'm just going to focus on that," Ellis said. "If it would have happened, it would have happened. It's a situation I can't control. I've just got to move on."

At No. 6, Ellis was the top scorer to be left out of the All-Star Game, first by the fans' starting votes and then by the coaches' reserve selections.

"I thought sometimes that I would make it, but, at the same time, I had to come back to reality," Ellis said. "This is my second year being in this position, and it's over with now. I'm just worried about playing basketball."

It's not quite over.

Commissioner David Stern will name an injury replacement for Houston center Yao Ming, and he might have to replace Utah point guard Deron Williams because of an injured wrist.

Stern will have to choose among Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, Steve Nash, Tony Parker and Ellis for one or two final spots.

Last season, Ellis was in the conversation for one of three injury-replacement spots, but he said he would rather go fishing.

Asked if he would attend the Los Angeles event as an alternate this year, Ellis said, "I'm going to stay away from that question."

Warriors power forward David Lee, who was an injury replacement in the East last season, said last week that he would probably get fined for negative comments if Ellis was left off the All-Star squad.

Upon seeing the loaded Western Conference roster, however, Lee changed his tune.

"I'm very disappointed. I can't take away from any guy who made the All-Star Game, but, with the season Monta has had and with our improvements, I think he's a guy who carries our team and plays like an All-Star," Lee said.

Ellis averaged 11.5 points on 7-of-33 shooting in his previous two games leading up to Thursday, when he had another rough shooting night, going 10-for-22. But his teammates picked up the slack with Dorell Wright, Lee, Curry, Reggie Williams and Radmanovic all in double figures.

Curry had his first seven-turnover game of the season and sat for nine second-half minutes.

Milwaukee (19-29) outrebounded the Warriors 49-36 despite playing without center Andrew Bogut (knee).


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