Even though it has been a formality for weeks, the Golden State Warriors were officially eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday.
Apparently nobody told Monta Ellis.
Ellis had 37 points and a career-high 13 assists in one of his most complete games of an already spectacular season, leading the Warriors past the road-weary Washington Wizards, 114-104.
“This is our job. We’re pros. Our season is not over with yet,” Ellis said. “We still have eight more games, just go out there and see how many we could win and finish it off strong.”
The Warriors (32-42) have already won seven more games than they did last season, and Ellis seems intent on making that number climb even higher. He played the entire game, added seven rebounds and was 14 for 24 shooting.
David Lee had a season-high 33 points and 12 rebounds, and Dorell Wright added 19 points to help the Warriors to their second straight victory. Ellis was three rebounds shy of his first career triple-double entering the fourth quarter and never came closer.
“I think this young man here is committed to turning this franchise around,” Golden State coach Keith Smart said. “I really believe he is doing everything he can to put us in the right position with his play, particularly here at home, to move us in the right direction.”
Washington continued its season-long slide away from the nation’s capital.
JaVale McGee had a career-high 28 points and tied his career best with 18 rebounds, and Maurice Evans scored 23 points for the Wizards, who have lost four straight and 10 of their last 11 games. They also dropped to 1-35 on the road this season.
“We’re not good enough,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said.
“That can be frustrating. But that’s like if I run you in a race I’m going to probably beat you all 10 times because you’re not as fast as me,” Saunders joked. “Same thing right now. We’re just young and not as talented as the teams we’re playing.”
About the only thing either team is still playing for is pride.
Both are already assured of missing the playoffs—the Warriors were officially eliminated when Memphis beat San Antonio earlier Sunday, and the Wizards (17-55) are closer to the league’s worst record than anything resembling the postseason—so there wouldn’t seem to be a ton of motivation left.