Monta erupts for 48, Thunder win 119-116


Monta erupts for 48, Thunder win 119-116

OAKLAND Monta Ellis scored a career-high 48 points, but it wasnt enough to lift the Warriors to a victory. The Thunder, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, defeated the Warriors for the second time at Oracle Arena in 11 days.Thunder 119, Warriors 116Player of the game: Warriors shooting guard Monta Ellis had a career-high 48 points, going 18-for-29 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line.

Key stretch: With under 20 seconds remaining, Kevin Durant missed a finger roll in the lane, but the Warriors couldnt secure the rebound. Given another opportunity, Durant banked in an 18-footer with 14.2 seconds remaining, which proved to be the game-winner.The Warriors still had plenty of time and were only down one, but they couldnt come through on their last possession. Despite being down just one, Monta Ellis shot a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining.The shot bounced off and the Thunder rebounded.You can nit-pick all you want, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Thats a guy with 48 points, with a wide-open shot, all by himself, on fire all night long. We executed. David had an option, turned down the drive, kicked it to Monta. Ill take it all day long. He makes it and you say: What a great play. Guy was on fire and he got a wide-open look.A wide-open look might have been a little bit of a stretch considering that Westbrook got a hand up and was close enough to Ellis that there was contact afterward and Ellis ended up on the ground.Still, Ellis, like his coach, had no issue with the shot.I was trying to get a quick shot and try to get somebody to tip it in, Ellis said. Like I said, it was a great shot. Nothing you can do about it. It didnt go down. It is what it is.Jackson questions officiating: One sentence after saying the Warriors were a no-excuse basketball team in his postgame press conference, Jackson then went ahead and criticized the officiating.That play at the end, David Lee gets hammered by James Harden, clearly, and we dont get that call, Jackson said. David Lee now picks up his fifth foul when he doesnt even put contact on Russell Westbrook, who blatantly fouls Monta Ellis. These are calls that you cannot get back but they hurt us. I dont accept My bad from my players all night long and its getting old accepting My bad for missed calls.Lee picked up his fifth foul with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.Tough twosome: Ellis had a monster game for the Warriors, but so did Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunders two stars. Durant finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Westbrook had 31 points and seven assists.Lees triple-double: David Lee had a triple-double -- -- the second of his career. It was also the first triple-double by a Warriors power forward since Chris Webber had one on Dec. 23, 1993, vs. the L.A. Clippers.It was the second triple-double of Lees career. His other one came when he was with the Knicks and playing against the Warriors on April 2, 2010. That night, Lee finished with 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.Defense rests: As good as the Warriors were at the offensive end of the floor through three quarter, defensively, they struggled. Want proof? Well after three periods the Warriors were shooting 59.7 percent from the floor and yet only led 93-92.The Thunder were scoring pretty well themselves and shooting well, too. Through three quarters Oklahoma City was shooting 54 percent from the floor and 47.4 percent from 3-point range.Montas big half: Ellis had a monster first half, scoring 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field. It was obvious from the start that Ellis was going to be aggressive as he came out and took six shots in the first six minutes.Ellis had 18 points in the first quarter, marking a season-high for points in a quarter by any Warriors player this season.Nice start: The Warriors scored 35 points in the first quarter, the most points theyve scored in the first quarter of a game this year.No Nate: The Warriors played without backup point guard Nate Robinson, who had a strained left groin. Robinson sustained the injury early in the fourth quarter of Saturdays loss at Sacramento.Robinson continued to play the rest of the fourth quarter that night, then also returned for a portion of overtime.Warriors coach Mark Jackson seemed to think Robinson would play earlier in the day at shootaround, saying: He looks fine so we expect him to be ready.

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards


Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.

Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson's single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

"I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously I was joking at the time," Westbrook said.

"But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it's an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine."

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston's James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.

Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.

The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook's record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.

"Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn't able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it's something that I looked up to as a kid," Westbrook said.

"I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson's record, and that's just a true blessing."

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia's Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

"Obviously I'm just proud of the team and the way they responded all year. Great organization," D'Antoni said of the Rockets' 55-win season.

"This is not an individual award. This is a lot of people, a lot of hard work goes into it, and I'm the recipient of some pretty good players."

In his first season coming off the bench, Gordon set a single-season record with 206 3-pointers by a reserve. He averaged 16.2 points to help fuel the Rockets' run to the surprising No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and edged former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of Golden State by 32 points.

Golden State's Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Leonard's two-year run. Leading the league in steals from his do-everything role with the NBA champions. He had a franchise-record 10 steals in a Feb. 10 game at Memphis while recording the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring in double figures, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Draymond Green named 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Draymond Green named 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Two days after Draymond Green said, in the wake of the Warriors winning the NBA Finals, that he no longer cared about the Defensive Player of the Year award, he got it anyway.

And he was very happy about being the first player in Warriors history to win it.

After finishing in second place in the balloting in each of the past two seasons, Green received the top honor Monday night during the NBA Awards Show from New York, beating out fellow Rudy Gobert (Jazz) and Kawhi Leonard (Spurs). Leonard topped Green in each of the past two seasons.

Green received 73 of the 100 first-place votes, totaling 434 points. Gobert received 269 points, including 16 first-place votes. Leonard received 182 votes, 11 for first place. The three finalists accounted for all 100 first-place votes.

Green posted impeccable overall statistics, leading the league in steals (2.03 per game) for the team that led the league in that category and averaging 1.39 blocks, as the Warriors also led the NBA in that category.

The 6-foot-7 forward finished third the NBA in defensive rating and second in defensive win shares, largely due to his ability as an irreplaceable force on that end of the court. Though Green starts at power forward, he spends considerable time at center -- while also playing point forward on offense.

Yet Green, smiling during his acceptance speech, also pointed out the work of his teammates, particularly Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, as the Warriors led the league is nearly every significant defensive category.

“This isn’t an individual award,” Green said. “There are five guys out there on the floor at a time. I can’t do this all by myself, so I appreciate them. With KD and Klay not making the All-Defensive team, I appreciated everything they do.”

Green earlier Monday led the media balloting for the NBA’s All-Defensive team, racking up 198 of a possible 200 points. He was voted to first team on 99 of 100 ballots yet completely omitted from one ballot.

If you want a splashy number, try this: Opponents shot 27 percent against Green when he switched a pick-and-roll and activated one-on-one defense, according to good folks at Synergy Sports Tech.

Green, who finished fourth in real plus-minus, averaged 10.2 points and 7.9 rebounds. He also led the Warriors in assists, averaging 7.0 per game.