Friday was Monta Ellis night at Oracle Arena.
In his first game since being traded by the Warriors to Milwaukee, Ellis finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes as the Bucks routed his former team 120-98. It wasn't one of his most sterling performances, but Ellis still captured Warriors fans.
"It was great how the fans applauded, showed their respects," Ellis said. "I respect them for that. Much love. I've been here for seven years. It was up and down, but at the end of the day, I can't ask for anything more."
When his name was announced with the Bucks' starting lineup, he got a standing ovation, which increased after his two-hand wave to the fans. He got another ovation when just before tipoff he went over to the Warriors' bench and greeted his former teammates -- and kissed his son, who was in his usual spot behind Golden State's bench.
Then, after the first timeout, fans cheered again after a video tribute.
"You've got to respect a guy like that," said Ellis' new backcourt mate, Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. "A guy who played hard like that, a guy who basically was carrying this team for a long time. There was a lot of love. Even when he was sitting on the bench. I can tell they were upset that he's gone. But, uh, we're happy."
On Tuesday, after six-plus years wearing No. 8 for the Warriors, Ellis was traded to the Bucks, along with big men Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown, for one-time All-NBA
Golden State also got swingman Stephen Jackson, a former Warrior, in that trade -- but shipped him to San Antonio just before the trade deadline Thursday for small forward Richard Jefferson, guard T.J. Ford (expected to retire because of injury) and the Spurs' conditional first-round pick.
Bogut and Jefferson were in attendance. Bogut is unable to play because of a fractured left ankle. Jefferson wasn't able to play because the trade is not yet complete, as Stephen Jackson had yet to pass his physical with the Spurs.
No matter anyway, as it was all about Ellis on Friday. He said before the game it felt "weird" but still seemed to be happy with the move.
It was certainly a different Ellis from the one Warriors fans were used to. He was wearing green and scarlet instead of blue and gold, No. 11 -- "My high school number" -- instead of No. 8. No longer the centerpiece star, he was a cog in what looked like a well-oiled machine.
Former Warrior Mike Dunleavy had 24 points on eight shots. Forward Luc Mbah a Moute had a career-high 22 points to go with 17 rebounds. Ellis finished third on the Bucks in scoring.
"I think it's best for both teams," Ellis said, adding, "I knew it was going to come to this at one point I my life. I used to be that young guy coming in and playing behind Baron (Davis) and Stephen Jackson and then they (left). I knew one day that some young guy was going to come in behind me and do the same thing, so I was prepared for it."
The guy who replaced Ellis, rookie swingman Klay Thompson, had a stat line that resembled his predecessor. Thompson finished with 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting with four assists.
Power forward David Lee led the Warriors with 22 points and nine rebounds. Small forward Dorell Wright had 17 points and seven rebounds.
But it was the Warriors' defense that completely failed Friday. Ellis didn't even need a big night, as Milwaukee scored a season-high in points while shooting 48.4 percent. The Bucks had six players in double figures, with Jennings' 13 being the lowest.
And the Bucks played without one of their best players, Ersan Ilyasova (illness).
"They destroyed us," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "They treated us like we were their little brothers. ... Anyway you look to define being thoroughly outplayed and physically beaten up, we made a case for it."
Ellis said he didn't have any revenge motives. But on his first time touching the ball, he took a shot. He pulled up from the left corner of the free-throw line and dropped in the 15-footer.
He wound up with eight points on 2-of-5 shooting with two steals in the first quarter. Milwaukee dominated early, taking a 31-12 lead into the second quarter -- Golden State's season-low for points in a quarter. Ellis didn't have to do much else the rest of the way.
"I really just want to get the win," Ellis said before the game. "I'm not going to try to come out here and kill the Warriors. Like I said, they were great to me. They gave me my shot. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be the Monta Ellis I am today."
After the final horn sounded and he completed his postgame interviews on the court, Ellis said one more goodbye to the fans. He waved to the screaming remnants as he headed toward the visiting locker room.
Monta Ellis night was complete.
"The way we whip the ball around," Udoh said, "that's going to take some getting used to. I just got to figure out my role, get acclimated and I'll be fine."
He finished scoreless on two shots in 19 minutes. He had four rebounds and four fouls.
Whereas Udoh was a rising star with the Warriors, he's behind a few young big men who are on their way to pretty good careers themselves in Ilyasova and Mbah a Moute. But minutes are available at center, where career power forward Drew Gooden is now starting.