10:00 PM ET, March 13, 2012
Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- On an emotional evening that marked the end of leading scorer Monta Ellis' time in Golden State, the stunned Warriors did the unexpected: They played with considerable hustle and emotion.
Nate Robinson, David Lee and Brandon Rush all scored 17 points for the Warriors, who managed to put aside the surprising five-player trade with Milwaukee by game time Tuesday night in beating the Sacramento Kings 115-89 for their third straight victory.
The Warriors agreed to send Ellis, forward Ekpe Udoh and center Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Many of the Warriors mentioned the move demonstrates that the NBA is a business. Yet it was hardly business as usual in the locker room prior to the game. Coach Mark Jackson said the team laughed, cried and mourned the loss of three teammates for a short time before turning their attention to the game.
"It was emotionally draining for us," Jackson said. "These were three guys we were attached to. It's a business and we talked about it. It's hard to see guys in this business go other places. This hurts."
Like everyone on the Warriors, forward Dorell Wright didn't see the trade coming. An eight-year veteran, Wright said Thursday's trade deadline is predictably a time of speculation and there are always numerous rumors, but the deal surprised him.
"I was stunned," said Wright, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. "I took it hard. It was three guys I was close to as friends. You hear rumors every year, but most of the time they aren't true. I've never been a part of something like this happening right before a game."
Although it stunned the Warriors, they didn't play like it, receiving strong contributions from practically all 10 players who were in uniform. Charles Jenkins had 15 points and Klay Thompson scored 14 for Golden State, which shot 50 percent, made 12 of 24 3-pointers, committed just seven turnovers, and had six block shots.
"Obviously we were more tuned into what they had going on in their locker room than ours," Kings forward Chuck Hayes said. "So we deserved it. We deserved to get our butts kicked."
Despite the loss of its top scorer and a key reserve, the Warriors pulled away in the second half for an easy victory. Ahead by 11 points after three quarters, Golden State extended it to 21 points by midway through the fourth.
DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who lost their second straight home game. Tyreke Evans had 16 points, Isaiah Thomas scored 15 and Francisco Garcia added 11. It was the fourth of nine straight home games for Sacramento, the longest homestand in franchise history.
"We thought because they didn't have Monta Ellis and stuff, we thought it was going to be easy on ourselves," Evans said. "I thought we just stopped playing. They just got whatever they wanted."
Drafted out of high school as a second-round pick in 2005 by Golden State, Ellis became one of the NBA's most dangerous open-court players and has averaged 19.6 points in seven seasons. But the Warriors made the playoffs just once with him.
Ellis spoke in the visitor's locker room before the game and didn't seem upset regarding the trade, which came in the same week he was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. He averaged 20.5 points, 7.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds last week in leading the Warriors to a 3-1 record.
Ellis exchanged goodbyes with stunned teammates, then quickly left the arena for the unexpected quick return trip to Oakland with Udoh, who appeared shocked after learning of the trade on a locker room TV.
"It's not a bad thing, man," Ellis said. "Not at all. We are going to another team to do the same thing we love to do. I'm riding back home with him (Udoh)."
The Warriors get a quality center, but also one who is injury prone and may not even play this season. Bogut, picked first overall by Milwaukee in the 2005 draft, hasn't played since injuring his left ankle in a Jan. 25 game. He has played in only 12 games this year and missed a combined 76 games in the previous three seasons.
The traded players will receive a quick opportunity to play against their ex-teams when the Bucks visit Golden State on Friday evening. Because the trade hadn't officially been completed, Jackson refused to speculate on how the new players would be utilized and what the trade might do to his team's chances of making the playoffs.
"Monta was our leading scorer, the heart and soul of our team," Lee said. "It was tough to see him go. This is business and there is no way to sugar coat this. That's the way it goes down in this league."
Golden State was also without its other starting guard, Stephen Curry, who has had a bothersome right ankle injury for much of the season. Curry started and played 10 scoreless minutes Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers before leaving the game for good with ankle problems.
"I'm fed up with it. I'm not able to produce," said Curry, who was unclear about when he might play again. "I have to let it heal. What that means, I don't know yet."
With Ellis gone and Curry not dressing, Robinson made his first start of the season. He had 15 points at the half, when the Warriors had a 54-49 lead. Cousins scored 15 points for the Kings.
Wright scored 11 points in the third quarter, when the Warriors outscored the Kings 30-24 to assume an 84-73 lead.
Robinson made a pair of 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the first quarter, helping the Warriors to a 2924 lead. . Kings forward J.J. Hickson played in a reserve role after missing the previous six games with a hip pointer. . Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson watched the game from a courtside seat.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||46-91 (.505)||33-82 (.402)|
|3PM-3PA||12-24 (.500)||7-19 (.368)|
|FTM-FTA||11-15 (.733)||16-21 (.762)|
|Fast Break Points||11||7|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||15 (0/1)|