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November 25, 2009

(A Few) Warriors Come Out to Play

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 2:37 pm

You’re liable to go many years before seeing another box score like the one from Golden State’s 111-103 victory at Dallas last night. The Warriors used just six players; according to Elias, it’s just the third time since the NBA-ABA merger to play so few in a game. Three players–Monta Ellis, Anthony Morrow and Vladimir Radmanovic–went the full 48 minutes. The last time that happened for the Warriors, per the San Jose Mercury News, was Nov. 25, 1964, when it was done by Wilt Chamberlain, Guy Rodgers and Nate Thurmond.

Here was Golden State’s injury report entering the game:
Corey Maggette (left hamstring) is a game-time decision
Kelenna Azubuike (left patellar tendon injury) is out
Raja Bell (left wrist) is out
Andris Biedrins (osteitis pubis) is out
Speedy Claxton (knee) is out
Devean George (sore left knee) is out
Ronny Turiaf (left knee sprain) is out
C.J. Watson (Flu) is out
Brandan Wright (shoulder surgery) is out
Don Nelson (pneumonia) is out

The Warriors have been short-handed for some time, and not without success. They beat Portland last Friday with eight players. Assistant coach Keith Smart, who replaced the ill Nelson on the sideline, took things to an extreme by not using Maggette (working through a sore hamstring) and Chris Hunter, the D-Leaguer signed by Golden State using a rare roster exemption to ensure the Warriors would meet the minimum requirement of eight active players.

Improbably, Golden State looked like the fresher team down the stretch against a Mavericks squad that is battling injuries of its own (three starters are out) but certainly had an advantage in depth. With rookie Stephen Curry playing a key role, the Warriors outscored Dallas 33-21 in the final quarter.

Still, you have to wonder what kind of toll this stretch is taking on players, particularly undersized guards Curry and Ellis. Ellis, who was cramping up late in the game and getting his calves massaged at every dead ball, has played 182 of a possible 192 minutes over the last four games. The worst thing about the situation? Golden State plays again tonight, completing a back-to-back in San Antonio.

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