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Ellis leads Bucks to win in debut against Warriors

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Associated Press
3/17/2012 1:44:58 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Monta Ellis succinctly made his point about helping sneak his new Milwaukee team into the playoffs as one of the final teams in the East.

"I think we're going to get it if we keep playing the way we did tonight," he said as the Bucks carried on their current roll.

Ellis returned to Oracle Arena in his much-hyped Bucks debut and finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists as one of six Milwaukee players in double figures in a 120-98 win over the Golden State Warriors that was plenty emotional for both sides.

Luc Mbah a Moute had a career-high 22 points and season-best 17 rebounds for Milwaukee, which played without starting forward Ersan Ilyasova because of an illness that kept him at the team hotel in San Francisco.

Drew Gooden added 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists and Carlos Delfino had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Bucks extended their season-best winning streak to five games with their sixth win in seven.

Golden State dealt Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee on Tuesday for injured centre Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. On Thursday, the Warriors turned around and traded Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs for Richard Jefferson.

"Coaches, everybody was phenomenal. I think it made it smooth for me," Ellis said. "So, I got my first game under my belt and we'll go from there."

Ellis drew a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,596 as the final Bucks player announced in pregame introductions. Moments before tipoff, Ellis walked along the Warriors bench and gave hugs and handshakes to each of his former teammates before finding toddler son, Monta Jr., and embracing the boy.

Ellis raised both arms in the air and waved as he left the court following the game to yet more applause.

Ellis, who spent most of seven seasons with the Warriors, gave Milwaukee a 2-0 lead when he hit a 15-footer at the 11:18 mark of the first quarter. A tribute highlight video played to Green Day's hit "Time of Your Life" during a timeout with 5:35 remaining in the opening quarter that ended with "THANK YOU!" on the main scoreboard. Ellis, who didn't see the tribute, saluted the fans before play resumed, then immediately knocked down a 20-footer.

"It was touching but at the same time I still had a job to do," Ellis said. "We came out and played as a team, got the win, that's all that matters. It felt great, I felt loose."

A billboard near the main entrance to an Oracle Arena parking lot still features a life-size picture of Ellis with his white No. 8 Warriors jersey. He's pumping his right fist in celebration.

Ellis is rejuvenated and eager for a fresh start in Brew Town -- and Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles can't wait to have time to start designing plays around Ellis, who shot 6 for 15.

"We've had a three-week stretch here where we've scored the ball," Skiles said. "One of the reasons we got Monta was to add another scorer out there late in the game."

Skiles played the guard for the entire first quarter before giving him his first break to start the second period. Skiles said before the game he would sit Ellis down if he sensed the guard was getting overly excited or trying to do too much.

"It's great man, it's even better to be out there on the floor with those guys sharing the ball," Ellis said. "We've got a lot of guys who can hit shots and make plays."

Warriors rookie Klay Thompson scored 19 points two days after going off for a career-best 26 in a 105-103 home loss to the Celtics. Thompson went 1 for 7 in the first quarter but wound up 6 of 17 from the field overall for his seventh straight game in double figures, but it wasn't enough to keep the Warriors from dropping their second straight since Ellis' departure following a three-game winning streak.

"We took all the punches and threw none. For the first time in a while we didn't make the team that we played against feel us. They did whatever they wanted to do. It was an embarrassing effort," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "They destroyed us. They treated us like we were their little brothers. Any way you look to define being thoroughly outplayed and physically beaten up, we made a case for it."

Golden State got outrebounded 54-35 and gave up 52 points in the paint -- something the Warriors hope will change once Bogut returns to the court from a broken left ankle.

Udoh, Golden State's sixth pick in the 2010 draft out of Baylor, received his own cheers when he entered the game late in the first quarter. He had four rebounds and four fouls with zero points in 20 minutes off the bench.

Meanwhile, former Warriors forward Mike Dunleavy was booed when he checked into the game with 2:56 to go in the first quarter. Dunleavy led all Bucks scorers with 24 points off the bench.

Stephen Jackson had yet to pass his physical with the Spurs, so Jefferson had to watch alongside Bogut rather than make his Warriors debut. Bogut and Jefferson were introduced on the big screen early in the second quarter.

The Warriors trailed by as many as 19 in the first quarter 31-12. Golden State got back within seven following a 3-pointer by Thompson only to fall behind 56-43 at halftime.

"It was a different feeling but it's not an excuse for the way we played tonight," said Golden State's David Lee, who scored 22 points. "The things that we had accomplished the last two games, where we were sharing the ball well, our defensive intensity, controlling the glass better, all those things went out the window tonight."

Milwaukee has scored 100 or more points in six straight games, improving to 16-4 overall in such games.

Notes: Bogut, wearing a walking boot for his ankle injury, will undergo another MRI in 2 1/2 weeks to determine his healing. He also had a broken right elbow. "I've gone on Google and researched my injuries and they're not chronic," said Bogut, who signed autographs and even signed on an Ellis Warriors jersey for 16-year-old fan Mark Caramat. ... The Warriors' 12 first-quarter points were a low for the opening period this season. ... Mbah a Moute shot 7 for 7 in the first half and finished with his second double-double of the season, second in a row and 18th of his career. ... Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens watched courtside along with former Warriors star Al Attles.

Monta Ellis (Photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)
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