DENVER -- You might have expected Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who learned Thursday he was not selected as an All-Star reserve, to have one of his captivating performances. You know, prove they were wrong.
Instead, the captivating performance was provided by his backcourt mate Stephen Curry.
The Warriors' third-year point guard finished with 36 points in Golden State's 109-101 win over Denver on Thursday night. He was 13 of 17 shooting and had seven assists, seven rebounds and two blocks with just one turnover.
Golden State (9-14) snapped a two-game losing streak and got a much-needed road victory.
"You can rave about the shooting, rave about the points, but he played the game tonight like he was in total control," coach Mark Jackson said of Curry. "His stat line is a thing of beauty."
With back-to-back positive performances, including Tuesday's thrilling loss to Oklahoma City, Golden State is feeling good about itself.
Certainly, the Warriors were playing against a struggling Nuggets squad that has now lost five straight. Denver (15-12) was missing two starters, including Danilo Gallinari, arguably its best player. Plus, Denver was playing its second game in two nights.
Golden State took advantage. The Warriors held the Nuggets to around 40 percent shooting most of the game. Golden State outrebounded Denver 41-39. What's more, the Warriors had 14 blocks, five by reserve Ekpe Udoh.
"Ekpe did an unbelievable job," said forward David Lee, who with center Andris Biedrins combined for 16 rebounds. "He set the tone. But the biggest thing was when they drove in the second half, we had bodies there and we had guys helping the helper."
Golden State, though, trailed 51-47 at the half, and Jackson was not happy with his club.
"Coach ripped us at halftime about our effort," Curry said. "He got into us."
Golden State opened the third quarter on a 24-5 run. The end of the run detailed how Curry dominated the game. He rebounded a missed 3-point attempt by Denver's Rudy Fernandez, pushed the ball upcourt and found Dorell Wright for an open 3-pointer. The next trip down, Curry converted a nifty left-handed layup.
After he corralled another defensive rebound, Curry capped the run with a 3-pointer from the wing. Golden State led 71-56 with just over five minutes left in the third.
Golden State led 105-85 when Jackson finally pulled the starters in the fourth quarter.
"We responded," Jackson said. "I've got to give my guys credit. They came out on a mission on both sides of the basketball. We knew (Denver) was going to come in looking to get right. My guys responded. ... This was a great win for us."
"Don't care," Ellis said about being left off the team. "Don't care. Different year, same thing."
Ellis is averaging 22.2 points and 6.1 assists per game. But his team entered Thursday in the bottom rung of the Western Conference. Ellis had better numbers the previous two seasons but didn't get in largely because of the Warriors' losing record.
With the Warriors still losing, and Ellis' statistics not as mind-blowing as they've been, his chances of making it this season figured to be slimmer.
Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook was a virtual lock to be named. The other two backup guard spots went to San Antonio's Tony Parker and Phoenix's Steve Nash.
Parker is having a usually solid season for a Spurs team that has the second-best record in the West. And Parker's production (18.9 points and 7.7 assists per game) is especially important since Manu Ginobili has been out with a broken wrist and Tim Duncan is on the decline.
Nash is the one Warriors fans might have an issue with being selected over Ellis. He's averaging 15 points and 10.1 assists per game, good numbers but not special. Plus, like the Warriors, the Suns are a sub .500 team (11-15).
To Jackson, Ellis wasn't even the greatest snub on the team. That goes to rookie Klay Thompson, who set a career-high with 19 points in just 18 minutes Thursday. He was left off the 10-man roster of rookies selected to play in the Rising Stars challenge during All-Star Weekend.
"I'm still baffled that Klay Thompson is not in the Rookies vs. Sophomores game," Jackson said. "What you saw Thursday is not a (performance) we're shocked at. You can't show me (nine) rookies better than him."
Was it a tribute to his coach, who was known for giving shimmies during his playing days?
"I don't know what got into me," Curry said. "I looked toward Coach and saw him. We had joked about it earlier how that was his thing. ... I'm scared to look at (the video)."
Judging by the reaction of his teammates, he should be scared.
"He needs to keep that in the '80s," Wright shouted.
Said Lee: "That was ugly when Coach Jackson did it, and it was ugly when Steph did it."
Curry said it was likely the first and last time he would do it.
"Now I know why my dad told me to stop doing it," Jackson said.