Ellis leads Warriors past Wizards, 114-104By ANTONIO GONZALEZ, AP Sports Writer Monday, Mar 28, 2011
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Even though it has been a formality for weeks, the Golden State Warriors were officially eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday.
Ellis had 37 points and a career-high 13 assists in one of his most complete games of an already spectacular season, leading the Warriors past the road-weary Washington Wizards, 114-104.
“This is our job. We’re pros. Our season is not over with yet,” Ellis said. “We still have eight more games, just go out there and see how many we could win and finish it off strong.”
The Warriors (32-42) have already won six more games than they did last season, and Ellis seems intent on making that number climb even higher. He played the entire game, added seven rebounds and was 14 for 24 shooting.
David Lee(notes) had a season-high 33 points and 12 rebounds, and Dorell Wright(notes) added 19 points to help the Warriors to their second straight victory. Ellis was three rebounds shy of his first career triple-double entering the fourth quarter and never came closer.
“I think this young man here is committed to turning this franchise around,” Golden State coach Keith Smart said. “I really believe he is doing everything he can to put us in the right position with his play, particularly here at home, to move us in the right direction.”
Washington continued its season-long slide away from the nation’s capital.
JaVale McGee(notes) had a career-high 28 points and tied his career best with 18 rebounds, and Maurice Evans(notes) scored 23 points for the Wizards, who have lost four straight and 10 of their last 11 games. They also dropped to 1-35 on the road this season.
“We’re not good enough,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said.
“That can be frustrating. But that’s like if I run you in a race I’m going to probably beat you all 10 times because you’re not as fast as me,” Saunders joked. “Same thing right now. We’re just young and not as talented as the teams we’re playing.”
About the only thing either team is still playing for is pride.
Both are already assured of missing the playoffs—the Warriors were officially eliminated when Memphis beat San Antonio earlier Sunday, and the Wizards (17-55) are closer to the league’s worst record than anything resembling the postseason—so there wouldn’t seem to be a ton of motivation left.
Not that it showed.
The teams were in a constant sprint from the outset and traded baskets with little regard for defense. The Wizards, whose only road victory came at Cleveland on Feb. 13, had a rare night when they were competitive on the road.
For a half, anyway.
Then everything unraveled—as it always seems to away from home for the Wizards—after the break, and it didn’t help that starter Nick Young(notes) had to sit out the second half with a sore left knee, which the team said will sideline Young on Monday night at Utah. The Warriors started the third quarter on a 19-8 run that was capped by their most stunning series.
Ekpe Udoh(notes) swatted a shot by Othyus Jeffers(notes) off the backboard, and Ellis sprinted up court to lead the fast break. He dished the ball to Lee for a dunk and the foul over No. 1 overall pick John Wall(notes), and Saunders added to his team’s misfortunes with a technical foul for arguing.
A few plays later, Ellis added to his acrobatic night with a complete back-to-the-basket spin in the air and finished with a reverse layup over Evans that brought fans to their feet and helped Golden State go ahead by 11 points.
“I was definitely shocked,” Evans said. “If I would have known he was going to do all that, I would have fouled him. But he made a great athletic play. It was an incredible play.”
Although the Wizards came within a point early in the fourth quarter, they were never able to tie the score or sustain any type of momentum. The Warriors quickly went back ahead by double digits and cruised to the victory.
NOTES: Warriors C Andris Biedrins(notes) missed his sixth straight game with a severely sprained left ankle. He is expected to be out at least another two games. … Washington F Trevor Booker(notes) did not play after injuring his right foot in a loss at Denver on Friday. Saunders said he wasn’t sure how long the injury could sideline Booker but would not rule him out for the season just yet. … The Warriors recalled G Jeremy Lin(notes) from the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League. He will rejoin the team at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.