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News » Warriors notebook

Warriors notebook

Warriors notebook As Kobe can attest, Ellis makes strides on defense

For the better part of the past two years, the Warriors had no question would guard the opponent's best perimeter player.

It was swingman Stephen Jackson all the way, especially against the league's best scorers.

Jackson is now in Charlotte, but the Warriors still had no question about whom would guard the Los Angeles Lakers' best perimeter player on Saturday.

The man now is guard Monta Ellis, who was assigned Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

"He's averaging 30, so nobody's getting in his way," assistant coach Keith Smart said of Bryant. "Nobody had to ask who's going to guard him. They know one guy is going to guard him, do his best and we'll go from there."

That's the new burden for Ellis, who also is the Warriors' leading scorer. He fared well against Bryant, holding the Lakers star to 20 points on 8-for-20 shooting from the field. Ellis often received help from guard Stephen Curry and held Bryant to 2-for-5 shooting in the first half.

Despite earlier comments "Who have we got now that's going to play defense? We've got me," he said after the Nov. 16 trade of Jackson and a threat that he'd refuse to take more responsibility, Ellis has worked to assert himself as a leader.

Smart said Ellis has become more consistent at working hard every day. Ellis assumed the role of vocal leader in the locker room and in huddles. He's also asked for the challenge of guarding the best.

It is this recent behavior that had one team source saying the Warriors are not trading Ellis. Another said the Warriors realize it would be extremely difficult to pull the trigger on a trade involving Ellis.

Warriors center Ronny Turiaf returned to action after missing 12 games with a sprained left knee. He started the second half in place of Mikki Moore.

Corey Maggette was inserted into the starting lineup by Smart, in place of guard Anthony Morrow. Since Jackson was traded, Morrow, who is 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, had been starting at small forward. But Maggette, at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, is physically more comparable to Lakers forward Ron Artest (6-foot-7, 260 pounds) than Morrow. Smart is coaching the team while Don Nelson recovers from pneumonia. ... The Warriors have lost 42 of their past 52 games against the Lakers ... The announced attendance was 20,001, the Warriors' second sellout of the season.


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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2009


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