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News » Ellis relishes new role of top defender

Ellis relishes new role of top defender

Ellis relishes new role of top defender When Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart went over the defensive scheme for Saturday's game against the Lakers, he didn't have to address who would be matched up with Kobe Bryant .

It was a given.

Those kinds of tasks used to go to Stephen Jackson , but since the swingman was shipped to Charlotte, Monta Ellis has been guarding opponents' best perimeter players. It's a role he relishes, despite mixed results.

Ellis held Portland's Brandon Roy to a 6-for-17 shooting night and Dallas' Jason Terry to 9-for-19, but Tony Parker had 32 points and seven assists for San Antonio on Wednesday.

Ellis was back to the good results Saturday against Bryant, who didn't get off a single shot in the first quarter. Ellis also drew a charge against the league's leading scorer.

It was a frustrating night for Bryant, who went 8-for-20 for 20 points - 10 below his season average. After missing a third-quarter turnaround and getting beaten on the other end by Ellis for a lay up, Bryant slammed his hand against the ball before inbounding it.

"They'll probably score on me every once in a while, but I guarantee you, I'll make them miss more shots than they make," Ellis said. "My defense definitely gets overlooked. I hear people say 'Monta can't play defense and this and that.'

"If you look at all the tapes, Monta doesn't get burned like people think he does. I go out and do whatever I need to do."

Ellis is second in the league, averaging 2.5 steals a game. His commitment to defense has been contagious recently.

"It's his job to play with energy and make it tough for opponents' best players," Stephen Curry said. "It starts with Monta, and the rest of the team has to back him up."

The Lakers stayed in San Francisco on Friday, breaking their custom of spending the night in Oakland before games against the . "It was scary, because we had to take the Bay Bridge," coach Phil Jackson joked. "The Bay Bridge is shaky."By the numbers 75 - Number of combined steals between Monta Ellis and Kobe Bryant entering Saturday's game, ranking them second and third in the league. Bryant, who trailed Ellis by 0.36 steals per game, outswiped him 5 to 1 on Saturday.

.544 - Anthony Morrow's three-point shooting percentage through 14 games. He has six games with at least three threes made, but he went 1-for-4 from distance Saturday.

30.1 - Bryant's scoring average, second in the league behind Carmelo Anthony, before going 8-for-20 from the field for 20 points against the Warriors , two off his season low.

Up next Who: vs. Pacers 6-8

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

TV / Radio: CSNBA / 680

Of note: Former Warrior Mike Dunleavy scored 13 points in 16 minutes in his season debut for the Pacers on Friday night. He has endured two surgeries on his right knee since the 2007-08 season and played only 18 games last season after missing 11 games in his first six years.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2009


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