Perhaps few things could ease the frustration from the Warriors' late-game choke job Monday.
But the relief of watching star guard Monta Ellis moving freely through the locker room after the 127-117 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Oracle Arena was in the books seemed to offset the players' frustration over blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead.
Ellis seemed not to be sweating the sprained left knee he suffered on an awkward landing in the final minutes of a game the Warriors dominated for the most of the first three quarters. But his teammates sweated heavily in the immediate aftermath, as Ellis writhed in pain while grabbing his left knee.
"I pretty much ran as fast as Usain Bolt to foul (Dallas') Jason Terry because I was worried about my little general," Ronny Turiaf said of his reaction to Ellis' injury, referring to the Olympic sprint champion. "I tried to karate chop Jason Terry so I could run over and check on (Ellis). You hope that he's going to be OK."
Ellis, who finished with 27 points and five assists, will undergo an MRI today. His status is uncertain for Wednesday's game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. Since it is the last game before the All-Star break, Ellis might sit out the game and give his knee a week to rest.
The Warriors could use the time off, too. They've lost nine in a row.
Ellis' injury capped a dreadful stretch by the Warriors. They led 100-90 with 11:02 left in the game after Ellis drained a 22-footer. But Dallas, which hadn't led the entire game, followed with a 30-13 run to steal a victory.
A 3-pointer by Terry, who finished with a game-high 36 points to go with eight assists, cut the Warriors' lead to 102-101 with 7:44 left. Minutes later, Terry nailed another 3-pointer, right in front of the Warriors' bench, to give Dallas its first lead, 111-110.
Then the Warriors fell apart completely.
Four of the Warriors' next five possessions ended with turnovers, two by Ellis as he tried to pass out of the Mavericks' double-team. The miscues led to an 8-1 Dallas run.
Ellis ended the spurt with a driving layup, cutting the Mavericks' lead to 118-113 with 3:48 left. But he fell backward when he landed, and his left foot got caught underneath him. He spent a few minutes on the ground beating the hardwood with his right hand as he covered his face with his left arm. He eventually limped off under his own power but never returned.
"It's really just a little sore," said Ellis, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee as a high school senior. "It's not as bad as it looked or I made it seem. ... That's the knee I had surgery on, so it was kind of scary. But now it feels good."
After Terry knocked down the free throws from Turiaf's karate chop, Golden State trailed 120-113 with 3:43 left. The Warriors missed their next five shots, including a missed dunk by forward Anthony Tolliver, and turned over the ball once more to complete the collapse.
The Warriors were shooting 54.7 percent from the field with 25 assists and only eight turnovers after the first three quarters and led 98-90. In the final 12 minutes, they shot 33.3 percent, with three assists and seven turnovers.
The Warriors squandered guard Anthony Morrow's best game of the season (33 points, 11 assists) and wasted a solid defensive effort on Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who had a quiet 15 points in 29 minutes.
"The whole game, it felt like we were in control," rookie guard Stephen Curry said after totaling 25 points and nine assists. "You can sense that sigh of relief you're going to feel once you get that win. It kind of puts a little more pressure on you down the stretch when you feel like you've got a chance."
NEXT GAME: Wednesday,
vs. Clippers, 7:30 p.m.