Things have gone well for the Golden State Warriors so far this season. Almost shockingly well, in fact.
The team seems to have bought into head coach Keith Smart’s system, and despite a rash of injuries to key players, the Warriors have managed to gain a very respectable 7-4 record to date.
The first sign of trouble for the team, however, showed up on Monday night during a win against the Pistons. Tayshaun Prince wasn’t the only guy mad at his coach that night; Monta Ellis was less than pleased with his playing time and let the media know about it.
Ellis, the League’s second leading scorer, was in foul trouble (and the Warriors had a comfortable lead) when Smart took him out for much of the fourth quarter. He was no amused after the game.
Smart took Ellis out after committing his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors up 92-78. When Ellis returned with under two minutes remaining, the lead was down to four. “I don’t like it,” Ellis responded, when asked about sitting much of the fourth quarter. “I don’t like it. At all.”
When Ellis was asked if it was tough for him to watch the Warriors lead dwindle, he said: “C’mon, man. It was very hard to watch. That’s what I do. I play basketball. That’s my love for the game. That’s what I do. In that situation, I do want to be in the game. We got a win. Move on.” As for Smart, he said afterward he would have handled the situation the same way. Ellis began the fourth quarter with four fouls, then picked up No. 5 when he fouled Ben Gordon with 8:37 left.
Happy or not, it doesn’t sound as though things will change for Monta Ellis should a similar situation come up.
It’s apparently Keith Smart’s show in Oakland, irrespective of his best player’s feelings.