Warriors down Suns on Monta's game-winner, 106-104

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Warriors down Suns on Monta's game-winner, 106-104

BOX SCORE

Warriors 106, Suns 104Player of the game: Monta Ellis had 26 points and six assists and hit the games biggest bucket, a contested jumper over Grant Hill with one second remaining to give the Warriors a 106-104 victory.It was great defense, Ellis said of the game-winner. But better offense. I had to concentrate and make that shot. It felt good when it left my hand.The win snapped a 13-game losing streak at Phoenix for the Warriors. Their last win there was in 2005.Key play: With the game tied 104-104 and 24 seconds remaining, the Warriors set up for one final possession. Ellis dribbled the ball at the top of the circle with Hill on him and went right.Hill had him smothered, but Ellis made a pivot and then hit a tough fadeaway from about 18 feet away to give the Warriors the win.On the games final play, Channing Frye got open from the 3-point line, but missed on a potential game-winner.Curry foot tweak: Warriors point guard Stephen Curry tweaked his right foot late in the first quarter on Monday. Curry sustained the injury while he was leading a fastbreak and trying to finish at the rim.Curry got to the bucket, but appeared to injure the right foot while coming down. Warriors coach Mark Jackson put Curry back into the game late in the second quarter, but as he walked to the locker room at halftime, Curry seemed to be favoring the foot.Curry didnt play in the second half and wound up with nine points in just 10 minutes. The injury was called a tendon strain in Currys foot. X-rays were negative.Said Jackson: He just tweaked his foot a little bit. Hes going to get checked out. Im not an expert but the right thing to do was shut him down, take advantage of the rest (over All-Star weekend).Udoh reinjured: Warriors power forward Ekpe Udoh, who bruised his left knee during Mondays game against the Clippers, banged the knee again on Wednesday night.Udoh brushed the knee against Sebastian Telfairs knee in the second quarter and came up limping. The Warriors called the injury a left knee contusion, though Udoh returned in the second half.Ekpe wasnt 100 percent, Jackson said. At halftime he said he was OK, but obviously he wasnt himself.
Wright back on track: Dorell Wright entered Wednesdays game against Phoenix having missed 13 consecutive shots over the previous two games. Wright was 0-for-7 from the field against Memphis and then followed that up with an 0-for-6 against the L.A. Clippers on Monday.Wright made four of his first five shots against Phoenix, scoring 11 points through 24 minutes, helping lead the Warriors to a 59-45 halftime lead.Wright finished 23 points on 7-for-11 from the field.

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

OAKLAND -- For the first time since he joined the coaching staff last summer, Mike Brown on Wednesday morning arrived at the Warriors facility a man in charge.

As acting head coach, he would decide when practice started and when it ended, and conduct proceedings in between.

The general activity was not much different for anyone else, though, as it continues to become evident that everything the Warriors do for the foreseeable future will be a Brown-Kerr, or Kerr-Brown, production.

“Steve is going to be a part of this process the whole time,” Brown said after practice. “Almost before I do anything, I’m going to consult with him. The only time I won’t consult with him is probably during a game.”

Since Kerr’s announcement last Sunday that he was taking an indefinite leave to attend to personal health issues, Brown has been wielding the clipboard. He actually coached Game 3 against Portland last Saturday, in Kerr’s absence, before knowing in advance he’d also coach Game 4 Monday night.

Brown is 2-0, with the Game 4 win clinching a Warriors sweep of the Trail Blazers. Yet Brown is quick to remind anyone that he is following the plan laid out by Kerr. The two exchanged texts Tuesday and, according to Brown, “spoke at length” after the game between the Jazz and the Clippers -- one of which will face the Warriors in the next round.

Though the Warriors are operating under a different head coach, all indications are the atmosphere around the team remains stable and relatively unchanged.

“Obviously it’s different personalities, but when you make it about the players, when you make it about winning, all that other stuff really doesn’t matter,” Kevin Durant said. “He coaches us. He coaches the game of basketball and he does it very well. Our whole coaching staff does the same thing.

“When it’s about basketball, it’s not about trying to have authority over us. He’s just coaching us. He’s just coaching us up. He’s just telling us the proper way to do things on the basketball court. It’s pretty simple when you try to do that. Then it’s on us to try to execute.”

Execution has gone well, particularly over the last six quarters of the series against Portland. The Warriors wiped out a 16-point deficit in the second half to win Game 3, and then rolled to a 35-9 start in Game 4 before coasting to the closeout victory.

Brown was on the sideline in Game 4, with Kerr watching the game from the locker room.

It’s fairly apparent, though, that everyone involved feels a heightened sense of accountability and ownership.

“Mike has had a pretty big voice throughout the whole season,” Durant said. “He’s been a head coach before, understands what it takes to be a head coach. And the coaching staff is just so smart, and they empower each other.

“Anybody, if you’re around us on a day-to-day basis, anybody can tell that they work well as a group. Coach Kerr does a great job. He spearheads it all by empowering everybody, from the coaches to the players.”

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

OAKLAND -- After arriving in Oakland in the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Warriors took the day off, went through a light practice Wednesday and will take another day off Thursday.

Slackers, eh?

Not really, when the next game is at least four days away.

The semi-lax scheduling isn’t the decision of acting head coach Mike Brown. It’s not even the decision of head coach Steve Kerr, who was not at practice Wednesday and remains out indefinitely. It’s a common sense call that was made between the two men, with players and staffers on board.

“If you can sweep every series,” Kevin Durant said after practice, “then that’ll be perfect.”

This is one of the perks of sweeping a first-round opponent. By eliminating the Trail Blazers in four games and with their next opponent undetermined, the Warriors are able to balance work and rest.

“With this group here,” Brown said, “the continuity that the nucleus has and how intelligent the guys are, with the big-time veterans we’ve brought in, we feel that rest for their bodies and mentally (are) more important than coming in here and having practice on a daily basis.”

They also have a couple guys recovering from injuries. Forward Matt Barnes (right foot/ankle bone bruise) has been out two weeks, and guard Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain/hand contusion) has missed the past nine days. Both, however, are expected to be available for the next series.

The soonest that would be is Sunday against Utah, which owns a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers and can close it out Friday in Salt Lake City. If the Clippers win and push the series to seven games, the Warriors would then open against the Clippers-Jazz winner on May 2.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have no choice but to prepare for both, with plenty of time to do so.