Is it time for Monta Ellis to be more vocal?

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Is it time for Monta Ellis to be more vocal?

OAKLAND There is little question that Monta Ellis is thebest player on the Warriors. And even if you question that, youre likely to atleast acknowledge that nobody on the Warriors is playing better or doing anymore than Ellis right now.In fact, hes playing so well and doing so much that itsfair to ask whether or not his teammates are doing enough to help him. Ellis isa team captain and hes also being called a leader.So, the line of questioning in interviews on Monday withEllis and coach Mark Jackson was whether or not Ellis should be calling outor demanding more from his teammates.Here are the exchanges

Question: As a leader and captain of thisteam, would you ever address a teammate or certain players and say I need somehelp. Somebodys got to step up and help me, especially in the fourthquarter?Monta Ellis: No. Weve been in the gamesin the fourth quarter. The plays were not making are careless turnovers likethe one I made last game (vs. Utah). Its going to happen. We just cant beatourselves up with it. Ive got great teammates who can make plays.Its just come down to the other teams made more plays thanwe did. Its a learning experience. We watch film, try to correct it and getready for the next game.Question: Sometimes players such as KobeBryant or LeBron James or Kevin Garnett will say something. Kobe will say toAndrew Bynum, for example, I need more out of you. LeBron might say You needto step it up. Have you ever done that or do you feel like thats the coachsrole?Monta Ellis: With us, we watch film, webring points out on film. Its not me to criticize my teammates. They get awaywith it, they do what they do, thats LeBron and thats Kobe. Thats how theydeal with their team and their situation.We deal with our team different over here. Were going tocontinue to do what we do. The guys that messed up or need to step up they knowwhat they need to do and we go at it that way. Ill never bash my teammates inthe paper, go at them sideways like that. Im going to lift them up more thananything.Question: Have you ever done itprivately?Monta Ellis: No.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Question: Would it be within Monta Ellisdomain or purview to demand his teammates one or a couple of guys to step up and give him some help?Mark Jackson: They are. Hes doing agreat job. Hes averaging 8.5 assists for a reason -- guys are finishing plays.Theyve done the job. Weve put ourselves in position to win ballgames. Demandingguys step up is securing the basketball and getting stops, executing fastbreakswhen you have numbers down the stretch, paying attention to details defensivelyto close out ballgames.That is every bit as important as other guys stepping up. Soacross the board weve got to do a better job.Question: But would you be OK with himdoing it with Monta Ellis either addressing a teammate privately or publiclyand saying I need more out of you.?Mark Jackson: Hes done everything Iveasked him to do. Hes been an incredible leader. What I love about him most is heholds himself to a standard. So the first thing hes thinking (Saturday night) isIve got to make that shot.Second thing hes thinking is Ive should have goneearlier. Its I, its me, its my fault. We were in position to win theballgame. Real leaders, real great players own up to their part of theresponsibility and thats why I love him.Question: Great players sometimes Kobe,Garnett theyve been known to light fires under teammates and tell thoseteammates they need to step up or they need to help.Mark Jackson: Hes done everything,including that.Question: It seems like that doesnt comenaturally to him.Mark Jackson: It comes natural. It comes natural. The guy I know it comes natural. Hesbeen an incredible leader on this basketball team. Whatever he sees he speaks outagainst it. He challenges guys, challenges himself. Hes been as good a leaderas Ive seen.

Ex-Warrior rips Thunder for not defending Westbrook after Pachulia incident

Ex-Warrior rips Thunder for not defending Westbrook after Pachulia incident

Late in the first half of Wednesday night's game against the Thunder, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia made hard contact with Russell Westbrook, sending the Oklahoma City star sprawling to the ground.

The referees reviewed the play and gave Pachulia a flagrant foul.

Replays show Pachulia appearing to stand over Westbrook and none of his Thunder teammates coming to his defense.

Raja Bell, a 12-year NBA veteran who was briefly a Warrior during the 2009-10 season, was not happy with the reaction of the Thunder players.

"You are supposed to come flying across the court. You don't have to punch him, because that's a lot of money. But he should catch a forearm across his shoulder, a shove in the back, you ain't gonna knock down Russell Westbrook, the everything to the team I'm playing on, who feeds me, who makes me better, you ain't gonna do that and just stand over him and ice grill him. Not a chance," Bell said on Thursday during the NBA Crossover show on CBS Sports.

The incident started a war of words between Westbrook a Pachulia following the game.

"I don't know. He hit me kind of hard. But it's alright. I'm going to get his ass back. Straight up," Westbrook said when asked about what happened on the play.

He was then asked if he noticed Pachulia standing over him.

"I didn't see that until just now, but I don't play that game. I'm going to get his ass back. Whenever that is, I don't know, but I don't play that game," Westbrook said.

Pachulia responded to Westbrook's comments moments later.

"I can't worry about that kind of comment. I'm part of an amazing team and we have a great goal of winning a championship. I'm all in with my energy, 100 percent. So we're thinking about this team, staying healthy, moving forward, getting better, getting to the playoffs and playing for the championship. That's what I'm thinking about. I'm not thinking about those kind of comments.

"That team is not there, so they may be thinking about other stuff like getting me back. Okay, you can get me back. But again, it's my 14th year, we all know what my game is, to play hard, not dirty. If it was a hard foul, it was a hard foul. It wasn't dirty at all. I'm not worried about this," Pachulia told the media.

LeBron considering return to Team USA under 'great mastermind' Popovich

LeBron considering return to Team USA under 'great mastermind' Popovich

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- LeBron James might make another run at Olympic gold with Gregg Popovich.

James, who already has two gold medals, said that Popovich taking over as coach of the U.S. team will influence his decision on whether to play in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

"It factors a lot," James said Saturday as the Cavaliers prepared to host Popovich's San Antonio Spurs. "I've said that before. He's just a great mastermind of the game of basketball."

James skipped last summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to get rest after leading Cleveland to an NBA championship. But he's still connected with Team USA and Popovich replacing outgoing coach Mike Krzyzewski could be enough to draw James back to the Olympics.

James will be 36 in 2020, but his game is showing no signs of decay and the three-time NBA champ has relished his previous Olympic appearances. He was a key member of the American teams that captured gold in Beijing (2008) and (2012), performances that helped him and the U.S. squad erase some of the disappointment from taking bronze in Athens (2004).

Krzyzewski, the Duke coach who led the U.S. team to three consecutive gold medals, had a hand in naming Popovich as his successor.

For James, the pick was perfect.

"Team USA is in good hands with him," James told The Associated Press in 2015. "It was in good hands with Coach K. It's almost like 'The Godfather.' We hand it off to Michael Corleone now."

Earlier this week, James said he considers Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles, "the greatest coach of all time. I've said that over and over and over. You have to be sharp, mentally and physically, when you go against his ballclub. If you were an NFL player, it's probably the same as going against a (Bill) Belichick team.

"What they're going to do, they're going to do and you have to try to figure it out."

James has lost twice to teams coached by Popovich in the NBA Finals - in 2007 with Cleveland and in 2014 with Miami. He admires the way the 67-year-old coach has adjusted and adapted over the years.

"A guy that's been able to do what he's done in an era of basketball where it's changed so much and he's been able to have a growth mindset and be able to change with the game," James said. "Obviously Tim Duncan was a huge part of that because Timmy was allowed to change with the game as well, but he's just continued to build around Timmy and Manu (Ginobili) and Tony (Parker) and bring pieces in and out throughout his whole tenure."

On Saturday, the Spurs will play their first game without center Pau Gasol, sidelined indefinitely with a broken left hand.

James said that won't change San Antonio much - because of Popovich.

"It doesn't matter who is in the lineup for the Spurs," James said. "They'll play Spurs basketball and Pop will have them ready. I mean, what's their record, 33-9, I believe? And if you asked me how things would change without Timmy D., they still pushing forward, man. It's just nothing out of the ordinary."