December 22, 2010
As Mr. Dwyer will surely tell you in Wednesday's Beyond the Box Score, Tuesday night's Kings/Warriors game was one of the most entertaining messes you'll ever see. The Warriors blew a double-digit lead, only for the Kings to counter by squandering a 16-point margin in the fourth, including two fouls on 3-point attempts and two missed rebounds on free throws in the closing seconds.
The Warriors owned the overtime, and Monta Ellis(notes) was a big reason why. This play was the dagger: an athletic lay-up that Ellis finished with his back turned to the basket. It was one of the highlights of the night around the league and the kind of play Monta has turned into a regularity.
This is a highlight in the same way that Blake Griffin(notes) dunks are highlights: They're emblematic of his play but not of the experience of watching Ellis perform. Most of the joy in watching these players comes from knowing that they could explode for a thrilling finish at any time. They happen often enough that they're expected at some point during a game, but they also usually materialize out of thin air. In a highlight, that element of surprise is lost -- you know the great play is coming, it's just a matter of how.
The upshot here is that you should really make Griffin and Ellis appointment television despite the fact they play for bad teams. They may both be involved in All-Star Weekend in some shape or form, but they're at their best when you can watch them over the course of 48 minutes.