It was far from a perfect win for the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. They led by as many as 21 points in the first half, before giving all of the lead away to trail by one with under two and a half minutes left in the game. But Monta Ellis made sure they’d go home with the win, hitting the tough, spinning fadeaway in the face of Grant Hill with one second left to lift his team to a 106-104 road victory.
“It felt good,” Ellis said afterward. “It was a tough shot, but I was locked in and focused on it, and it went down for us.”
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said that it went down exactly the way it was supposed to.
“We set it up that way,” he said. “I thought he had an angle; Grant Hill actually said he was looking to foul him because he thought he had an angle. But Monta did a great job of stopping on a dime and pulling up. The great players make big-time plays, and certainly it was a huge shot by him and a great way to send us off on the break.”
I called my good friend Luke. I told him if he needed any help, veteran leadership, in that capacity – Lakers – with an ability to coach at the end of my deal, then that was something I would be looking forward to. He utterly declined, and I respect him for that.
Gotta love a guy who announces to the world his pitch of providing veteran leadership was “utterly declined.”
Oklahoma City already had 15 players – the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries plus Semaj Christon (who’s likely headed to the D-League). Lauvergne’s salary is only partially guaranteed, but given his ability and cost, the Thunder surely plan to keep him.
The 6-foot-11 Lauvergne runs the floor well, and he can score in the pick-and-roll and on post-ups. He’s an impressive passer for his size, and he crashes the glass hard. But he’s not much of a rim-protector defensively. At age 24, he should produce well over the next several years – though he’s headed toward restricted free agency next summer.
Depending on the second-round picks, this might have just been a value play by the Thunder. They can figure out the rest later.
Henry – the No. 12 pick in the 2010 draft – never found his footing in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets or Los Angeles Lakers. He made some strides with the Lakers in 2013-14, but he tore his Achilles early the following season. That compounded the knee injuries that made Scott doubt Henry could meet the expectations placed on him coming out of Kansas.
Milwaukee now has 15 players, the regular-season roster limit. If Henry’s deal is unguaranteed, he’s obviously not a lock to stick. But the Bucks could use another wing. I’m guessing they’ll add more players to compete with Henry for that final spot.
He’ll compete with recently signedZach Auguste for a regular-season-roster opening that doesn’t exist – until the Lakers ditch Nick Young. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers add more players to the mix.
Both Wear and Auguste are eligible to have their D-League rights assigned to the Lakers’ affiliate if they’re waived before the season.
The 6-foot-10 Wear went undrafted out of UCLA in 2014. He has the makings of a stretch four, but he must become more comfortable beyond the arc rather than just in the mid-range.