LAST TIME OUT
Monta Ellis (26 points) played the role of hero, knocking down a last-second fade-away jumper to lift the Warriors to a 106-104 victory in Phoenix on Wednesday. The shot saved a game that the Warriors once led by 21 points and sent the team into the All-Star Break as winners of two straight. David Lee sparked the team with 13 of his 22 points in the opening period and Dorell Wright had 23 points and seven rebounds. FULL GAME RECAP
WARRIORS VS. PACERS
Tuesday’s matchup will mark the second contest of a season-long six-game road trip for the Warriors. It will also mark the second and final meeting this season between Golden State and Indiana. It’d be fair to say that the Warriors have a score to settle with the Pacers, as Indiana escaped with a 94-91 victory on January 20 in Oakland. The NBA has since announced that a missed kick ball violation took place with 5.4 seconds remaining in the game, costing the Warriors an opportunity to take a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds of that contest. In addition to avenging that January defeat, the Warriors would also like to build on their two-game winning streak. The Pacers, meanwhile, are off to their best start of the season since the 2003-04 campaign. Anchored by first-time All-Star Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger and David West, Indiana has followed a five-game skid with a four-game winning streak and is now in third place in the Eastern Conference.
MONTA THE MAGNIFICENT
Monta Ellis is having another fine season. He currently leads all non-2012 NBA All-Stars in scoring with 22.4 points per game (sixth overall). Sound familiar? He was the highest scoring non-All-Star last year (24.1 ppg) as well as the year before that (25.5 ppg in 2009-10). Ellis has scored at least 26 points in each of the last three games and during that stretch he has shot 10-for-17 on 3-pointers.
TIME TO MAKE A MOVE
One of the team’s goals at the start of the season was to make the playoffs. While they’re not currently in position to make the postseason, the Warriors aren’t that far off. Portland is currently in the eighth spot, three games ahead of Golden State, but just one game ahead in the loss column. Four other teams are within four games of the eighth and final playoff spot, so it figures to be a tight race throughout the second half of the season.
WRIGHT GETTING RIGHT
If the Warriors are to make a playoff push, don’t be surprised if Dorell Wright picks up his play in the second half. The Warriors’ swingman has struggled during the 2011-12 campaign, but he broke out of a slump on Wednesday with 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Wright certainly needed that big game, as he had gone scoreless over the prior two games.
Injuries:Warriors - Stephen Curry (strained tendon in right foot) and Kwame Brown (torn pectoralis) are out. Jeremy Tyler is on assignment with the Dakota Wizards of the NBA D-League. Pacers - Jeff Foster (sore lower back) is day-to-day.
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