I was really looking forward to an epic match between Monta Ellis and Dwyane Wade tonight. Their season averages are similar and when you watch them play, their games mirror each other. Wade is bigger and more physical, which gives him the edge in a one-on-one matchup, but they both excel by slashing to the hoop to score or draw a foul, or pulling up for a jumper. Look at their season stats:
Wade: 26.6 points, 6.1 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 44.5 FG%, 27.6 3p%, 76.6 FT%
Ellis: 26.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 47.0 FG%, 30.4 3p%, 78.1 FT%
That’s kind of crazy, right? I wasn’t really aware of how close these two were statistically until I looked it up earlier today. I think it shows how close Ellis is to cracking that top tier of elite shooting guards. Right now, I would rank the shooting guards in the NBA like this: 1. Kobe Bryant, 2. Brandon Roy, 3. Dwyane Wade, 4. Joe Johnson, and then I think I’d put Ellis at five. That’s a really impressive group of players, and it proves that the Warriors do have a legitimate star they can build around. Ellis has really come a long way this season.
Now that I’ve pumped him up, I have to tear him down. Back to Wednesday’s game at Oracle Arena. I was really excited for the possibilities of this in-game match between Ellis and Wade. Keeping in mind what Ellis did against Roy this season, I expected a great game between Ellis and Wade. I honestly thought Ellis was going to outplay Wade and lead the Warriors to an impressive win. Ellis had homecourt advantage (a big deal for him) and Wade was a late decision to play because of an injured wrist. All signs pointed to a major statement game for Ellis.
Ellis blew it. It wasn’t even close. Wade was dominant. Ellis was passive and out of sorts. Wade made Ellis look silly on more than one occasion on defense. To be fair, Wade makes a lot of defenders look silly, but I was surprised by how much Ellis struggled to guard Wade at times. Again, I kept thinking back to how Ellis shut down Roy earlier this season. Why wasn’t he putting up a similar effort against Wade? Tonight, it wasn’t meant to be. Ellis was a letdown on offense and defense.
Here’s a look at the two star guards’ performances from Wednesday night’s game:
Wade: 35 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 7 turnovers, 10-15 FG, 15-15 FT
Ellis: 17 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 6-15 FG, 4-8 FT
Like I said, it was a major letdown.
Here’s the Associated Press recap from tonight’s game.