OAKLAND The Warriors lost their fifth straight game on Saturday night, as twice Monta Ellis couldnt make a big play or big shot with the game on the line. It only gets more difficult with the Miami Heat coming into Oracle on Tuesday.Jazz 88, Warriors 87
Key sequence: With the game tied at 87-87 and 15 seconds remaining, Monta Ellis got caught in the air and turned the ball over. Utahs Gordon Hayward got fouled on the ensuing fastbreak and knocked down one of two foul shots with 11 seconds remaining.On the games final possession, Ellis who had been one of the few bright spots on the night for Golden State wound the clock down, then missed on a little runner on the right side as time expired. He was defended well on the play by Raja Bell, and Ellis didnt shoot it early enough to allow for the Warriors to get an offensive rebound.Any day (Ill take that shot), Ellis said. It was a tough one. We did everything we could. Ill take this one (the blame). I turned the ball over at the end, then come down and didnt make the shot. It was a great shot. Like I said, Ill take it any day. I just didnt knock it down.Said coach Mark Jackson: No need to hold our heads down. Were going to be fine. But we need to make it happen. Nobody is going to hand-deliver us a win. Weve got to go get it.Ellis evolution: Ellis really played a smart third quarter for the Warriors and he did it despite going 0-for-4 from the field. With his jumper not falling, Ellis went down to the low post and went to work on a variety of Jazz defenders.The result was that Ellis got to the line nine times in the period and he made eight. He also handed out three assists in the period and helped the Warriors overcome a 57-50 deficit.The guy is doing everything I ask him to do on both sides of the basketball, Jackson said.Ellis wound up going 16-for-17 from the foul line, a career high for him in free throws made.
Clawing back: After getting down 18-6 and 21-10, the Warriors slowly but surely got back into it and led 46-45 at halftime. They did it by limiting their turnovers and defending better. The Warriors committed six turnovers in the first quarter, which led to nine Jazz points. They had only two turnovers in the second quarter.As for the defense, after giving up 50 percent shooting in the first quarter, they held the Jazz to 5-for-13 from the floor in the second quarter. The only issue in that period was fouls. Utah was in the bonus halfway through the period and took 11 free throws in that quarter.Yet foul trouble might have been a blessing in disguise for Golden State because it prompted Warriors coach Mark Jackson to finish out the half by playing zone defense.The Warriors played plenty of zone in the second half, too, and it was effective. The Jazz shot only 39.5 percent for the game.Still, Warriors forward David Lee wasnt having any of it."Its frustrating, said Lee, who finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds. While were sitting here at 2-6 we could easily be 4-4 or 5-3. Im going to be very frustrated until we get that next win. Youre on a losing streak and nothing seems positive at this point. In my opinion you cant take anything positive away from todays game.
Wright tries to build: After Dorell Wright made a few shots and finished with 10 points against the Lakers on Friday after two scoreless games the hope was that he was on his way.It was encouraging, Jackson said before the game. I thought he did a good job of stepping up to the challenge and defending Kobe (Bryant). Offensively, he made some shots and was aggressive. We need him and it was refreshing to see him play like the Dorell from last year. Hopefully this is the start of a great roll for him.
Not so fast, my friend.Wright wasnt much of a factor, playing only 20 minutes and sitting out most of the second half. He went just 1-for-3 from the floor on the night. Wright entered Saturdays game averaging 6.1 points per game, while shooting 32.7 percent from the floor and 19.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Jackson ended up going with rookie Klay Thompson down the stretch instead of Dorell Wright. When asked why he went with Thompson, Jackson replied: "To get shooting on the floor. He battles on the defensive end. And I thought in spite of the numbers he played well. I thought he made a mistake on transition on a two-on-one with Monta, but other than that I thought he played very well.Those Warriors are history: Utah coach Tyrone Corbin was asked before the game about the danger of playing the Warriors.Said Corbin: Their speed allows them to get into the open court and if you play an uptempo game with them and their making shots and youre not, it can be a tough night for you. Youve got to make sure you control the tempo of the game. Youve got to slow them down and make them play against your halfcourt sets. Run on your opportunities but make sure you play in a tempo that is favorable to you and not to them.Reality is the Warriors arent an uptempo team anymore. Through seven games the Warriors were averaging just 90 points per game and hadnt cracked the 100-point mark.