You wouldn't know it from the media coverage, but there was another NBA game Thursday night. In fact, it was quite entertaining: The Suns defeated the Warriors 107-101 in Oakland in an open contest full of exciting offensive plays. It was a necessary reminder that a basketball game can be a positive experience, not just an opportunity for fans to hurl invectives at their team's former star.
Thursday night, no player exemplified the power of positivity more than Monta Ellis(notes), who finished with 38 points in the loss. As usual with Monta, though, it was the way he got them that defined the game. Simply put, he has entrenched himself as one of the most exciting guards in the league, with increasingly comparable efficiency to match.
Above, witness his top highlight of the night, a lightning-quick crossover on Jason Richardson(notes) for a relatively easy lay-up. What's so amazing about this play is that it's almost imperceptible -- Ellis gives J-Rich absolutely no time to react. It's such a subtle move that the defender can't even register it.
Again, Monta does things like this every night. When he plays, he reminds you that this sport captures your attention with excitement and artistry, not grudges and hate. LeBron's return to Cleveland owned Thursday night, but this play best explained what makes the NBA great.