NBA: Udoh impresses as Warriors beat Clippers

Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors second-year big man Ekpe Udoh started at center against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. And after the way he played, many Golden State fans will be hoping it’s permanent.
With usual starter Andris Biedrins out with flu-like symptoms, Udoh registered a career-high 19 points in a career-high-tying 39 minutes as the Warriors beat the Clippers 104-97.
Udoh made 9 of 14 shots to go with eight rebounds and two blocks as Golden State snapped a three-game losing streak.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, Udoh left the game after he banged his left knee late and did not return.
Warriors guard Monta Ellis had a game-high 32 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. Ellis was 4 of 4 from 3-point range. Forward David Lee had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and point guard Stephen Curry had 11 points and six assists.
The Warriors, who have struggled mightily in nail-biters all season, made several key plays down the stretch to hold off the Clippers.
With four minutes left, Udoh emerged from a crowd of Clippers with an offense rebound, dropping it in with two hands to tie the game at 95. Moments after Los Angeles took the lead back, Curry drove the lane and whipped a pass back out to swingman Brandon Rush. He nailed the open 3-pointer, putting the Warriors up for good.
After Curry secured a stop with a defensive rebound, Ellis put the Warriors ahead 100-97 with a driving layup at the 1:23 mark.
Ellis’ basket all but sealed it as Golden State held the Clippers scoreless over the last 3:15. Los Angeles missed its last six shots and turned it over once.
Before the game, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said he’s sticking by Biedrins as his starter. But he acknowledged Udoh has come on strong of late.
“I think at the end of the day, Ekpe has been playing very good basketball the last month or so,” Jackson said. “Really, when we started to go on our roll, it coincided with the way he was playing. So certainly, he’s a guy I love to see on the floor because of his versatility, his impact on the defensive end and also offensively, he can hit the midrange jumper and he can post up. He’s the player now that I envisioned when I took the job. Quite honestly, the first part of the season, he wasn’t playing well. He would be the first to tell you that.”
The Clippers came to town with the third-best record in the Western Conference. Their stars produced: Chris Paul had 24 points, six assists and five rebounds. Blake Griffin finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. Guard Mo Williams, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, hurt the Warriors with 22 points off the bench.

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