Monta Ellis led the charge with 21 points and five Warriors ended the night in double digits as they pulled out another victory last night, beating the New Orleans Hornets 102-89 at the Oracle. Monta, Dorell Wright (16), David Lee (16), Steph Curry (14) and Vlad Rad (13) all contributed to a solid team victory.
Despite a sluggish and ugly start to the game, the Warriors were able to pull out a victory. Poor defense and two early fouls for Monta and Steph put the Warriors in trouble early. Chris Paul came out hot and the Hornets led 33-23 after one on 68% shooting from the field. Paul had 11 points and 6 assists in the first quarter, but would miss the rest of his shots (8 total, 4-12 FGs) and finished with 11 points and 10 assists on the game.
Keith Smart knew he had to change things up after the slow start and he did just that. Smart put out Jeremy Lin, Ekpe Udoh, Vlad Radmanovic, Charlie Bell along with Dorell Wright to start the the 2nd quarter. This proved to be a good move as the second unit hustled around, rebounded and cut the deficit to six, after letting it slide to 15. Dorell Wright led the unit with his aggressiveness, while Vlad Rad played up to my challenge and dropped 13 in the quarter. His second three point field goal, followed by a Monta three gave the Warriors a 47-46 lead with 3 minutes to go, as owner Joe Lacob looked on from the commentary table. The Warriors came back from down 15, to up 5, taking a 58-53 lead into the half.
A turnover-plagued start to the second half was erased by back to back threes from Steph Curry to put the Warriors up 68-61 with 7 minutes remaining in the third. The Warriors began to up the tempo against New Orleans’ slow down defense, but it was our defense that was most impressive. Consistent hands in the face and rebounding from Udoh and Biedrins helped quiet David West, while Curry played up to par on Chris Paul after the first quarter. Another Curry three (5-5 FGs, 14 pts, 8 asts), some buckets from Monta and a huge block at the buzzer from Dorell Wright gave the Warriors a 12 point lead into the fourth quarter, 83-71.
Chris Paul sat the majority of the 4th quarter and the Warriors used great team defense and a Charlie Bell three ball to go up 20 points a few minutes into the quarter. The Warriors were able to rest their starters for a good amount of the fourth as the bench came in and did its job. Udoh had a big block and followed it up with an offensive rebound and put-back on the other end. Even Brandan Wright got in on the action receiving a lob pass from Jeremy Lin, which he threw down with authority. Contributions from all 11 players and 31 points from the bench highlighted this Warriors victory as we are now 16-11 in our last 27 games and ten games better then our 15-39 mark going into last year’s All Star weekend.
1. Steph Curry performance: I asked for a repeat and I got a good one. Curry outplayed Paul and annoyed him defensively which helped us out in the 2nd half.
2. Bigs playing BIG: Udoh and Biedrins combined for 12 rebounds and 3 blocks, while annoying the Hornets all night and holding West to 15 points.
3. Vlad Rad: I asked for contributions and that’s exactly what we got. Vlad Rad sparked our 2nd quarter comeback with 13 points. 31 bench points was huge and I hope they can keep it going tonight.
Warrior of the Night:
Dorell Wright, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. It could have gone to our bench (Udoh, Vlad, Bell) for their solid contributions, but a great floor game from Wright and his leadership on the 2nd unit was what our team needed. Good luck this weekend Dorell in the NBA Three-Point Shootout!
Great game last night from the Warriors…make sure you all check in for 756sports preview for tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz and watch it on CSN Bay Area at 6pm.