Golden State Warriors: Warriors need Andrew Bogut healthy

The Golden State Warriors are 22-3 with David Lee playing only 6 minutes and with Andrew Bogut continuing to be injury prone. When Bogut is healthy he is one of the best rim protectors in the league. Without him the Warriors are vulnerable in the middle.
Bogut’s impact is understated by those people who don’t watch the Warriors every night. Bogut is the Warriors eraser at the rim, his passing is a huge part of their offense and his ability to get 10 rebounds per game is key for the Warriors. His defensive impact is validated by him being number 2 in defensive plus minus at 5.83.
Andrew Bogut is one of the most impactful big men when healthy. Photo: Ben Margot / Associated Press
 If Bogut was healthy in last years’ playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers the Warriors would have won. Bogut has gotten off to a great start this season, averaging 7.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.0 apg and 2.2 bpg. The only thing Bogut can’t do is stay healthy. His inability to stay healthy could be the only thing which hinde

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Warriors hold off Thunder after Durant injury

Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Kevin Durant sprains right ankle

      
 

 

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Surprise Star Marreese Speights Talks Breakout Year and Warriors’ Early Success

Marreese Speights is in the midst of his career-best season with the Golden State Warriors, averaging 12.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in just 17.2 minutes per game off the bench. The backup big man took time on Dec. 17 to chat with Bleacher Report about dance moves, the source of his resurgence and goals for the Warriors season.

Bleacher Report: Most important question first. Andre Iguodala got a technical foul against the Memphis Grizzlies for dancing after what he thought should have been a traveling call. Ever seen anything like that before?

Marreese Speights: Never, never. We saw the clip of it and it was real funny, but I’ve never seen anybody get a tech for that. That’s crazy.

B/R: Did you critique him? Give him a one-to-10 score or anything?

MS: (Laughing) Nah, nothing like that.

B/R: You’re having what I think, and what a lot of people think, is the best year of your career. I said last year that you came into camp out of shape and that it hurt you. What did you do, specifically, this past offseason to make sure you were ready?

MS: I made sure I didn’t go days or a couple of weeks without doing anything. I always made sure I was doing something every day, even if it was just riding the bike a couple miles or getting up shots. I wanted to come to camp this year and prove that I wasn’t just some guy they signed who couldn’t do anything. There was a lot of (bad-mouthing) me last year because I didn’t play to my potential, so I knew I had to come in this year and be in better shape, ready to play.

B/R: When you’re putting in work over the summer, do you approach it from the perspective of adding to your strengths in your game or addressing weaknesses?

MS: For me, it was just about getting in basketball shape. I know what my game is, and I work on my game. But I know I can shoot the ball, and I know I can make plays. So I invested in this machine called The Curve this summer (Ed.’s note: The Curve is a self-propelled treadmill with a built-in incline.), and that’s something I tried to get on and run every day, even if it was just five or six minutes at a time.

B/R: Speaking of your shooting, I assume whoever you patterned your game after when you were coming up was a big man who could shoot? Anyone in particular?

MS: Yeah, I liked watching Rasheed Wallace when I was growing up. That was the guy I really looked up to and respect.

B/R: There have been seasons in the past where you’ve played more than you are this year. You were a regular starter in Memphis three years ago, for example, and obviously everybody wants to play as much as they can. That said, where does this year rank for you in terms of enjoyment?

MS: I enjoyed my time in Memphis, and I still do every time I go back. But this has got to be one of the best years…it is the best year because I get an opportunity to show what I can do on a consistent basis. In the past, I sometimes didn’t get consistent minutes. I’d never know if I was going to play 10 minutes or get a DNP, so that kind of messed my head up.

Now, I go out there every night knowing I’m going to play. That’s when I’m at my best, knowing I’m getting consistent minutes, knowing I’m getting in at this certain time. I’m going to be ready to play every night.

B/R: You know you’re going to play, but on a team like this, with nine, 10, 11 guys who have a case for playing time, roles are important. What’s your job on this team?

MS: My job is to bring the extra energy we need when, sometimes, we’re down. Sometimes we need a spark. I know that when coach gets me in the game, he wants me to make plays, but he wants me to play defense, too.

Coach says sometimes that he never knew I was this kind of player, but I’m glad he really trusted me and gave me an opportunity to show him and the coaching staff. It’s kind of crazy because me and (Warriors assistant coach) Luke Walton played together. And he knew how I could play, but the rest of the coaching staff didn’t because they only saw me a couple of times a year.

It’s all about just going to that arena every night, making shots, hustle plays, taking charges.

B/R: You’re second in the league in charges taken this year. Did you know that?

MS: Who could be first? It has to be me.

B/R: Kyle Lowry has you beat by one, 14-13. But you’ve had a few in the past few days. Maybe that stat’s old. You might be ahead of him now.

MS: Yeah. I had one last night, then in New Orleans I had two, and Dallas…I don’t think I had one.

B/R: Maybe you caught him then. Talking about defense, you spend a lot of time on the court with a second unit that has four players who can switch almost any matchup—whether it’s Harrison Barnes, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson or Draymond Green. What does that change for you as a center behind those perimeter guys?

MS: Actually, sometimes it’ll be all five of us switching, especially if Draymond‘s on the court. I just gotta make sure I talk to them on the defensive end, calling out coverages. I have to let them know that I’m going to be up on the pick-and-rolls with them, and that they have time to get back in front. It’s really just all about communication.

B/R: When you have to come up and contain or hedge hard on a pick-and-roll, who’s the guard that’s toughest for you to handle?

MS: Man, all of them really. Guys like Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Chris Paul—all those guys are tough. That’s why you really have to attack them before they attack us.

Like, that New Orleans game, Evans was really hurting us on the pick-and-roll, so me and Klay adjusted, tried to trap him so he’d give up the ball. And we got some steals that sparked that comeback we had. Most times we cover that stuff in pregame, but if a guy’s really hurting us, we’ll adjust on the fly.

B/R: The winning streak’s over, but you still have the best record in the league and the best defense. Most people who have been paying attention think you guys are for real. Do you think you’re getting the respect you deserve, or is it still not quite there?

MS: We’re getting respect, but like you said, it’s not quite there yet. People say, “they’re winning, but they played against a team without their bigs, or…They really aren’t living in the moment, you know what I’m saying?

We live in the moment over here. For us, we’re winning right now, so that’s all that matters. They’re living in the future, or worrying about other people.

B/R: There are good things about being looked at as a legit contender, but there are also benefits to being an underdog. Do you prefer one or the other? Do you care?

MS: That underdog thing is over for us. The Golden State Warriors used to be the underdog. Nobody knew about them and they made their run in the first year (2012-13) and they were just underdogs. But now everybody knows about us, and everywhere we go, teams are going to try to throw their best shots. We’re prepared for that.

I mean, we went down to Dallas and beat Dallas without our full squad, with no Bogues and no D. Lee. Memphis, too. That was a hard game, but we had no starting center and no starting power forward. That just shows the world that we’re a deep team and we’re going to make a run when the time comes.

B/R: Last thing: You guys had sort of a theme song you’d play on the plane after wins during the streak. That got shut down, though. Do you have a new song yet, or are you sticking with the same one and just keeping it off Instagram?

MS: Oh, we aren’t done with that yet. We’ll probably have something. We gotta figure out something we’re gonna do. It was fun.

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Thunder vs. Warriors: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

The Golden State Warriors earned a hard-fought 114-109 home victory over the rapidly rising Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

Stephen Curry led all scorers with 34 points on 14-of-24 shooting. Klay Thompson provided plenty of support with 19 points. As a team, Golden State recorded 32 assists to just nine turnovers, in contrast to Oklahoma City, which had 17 and 15 respectively.

Russell Westbrook did his best to single-handedly push the Thunder over the top in the second half, scoring 33 points and dishing out eight assists on the night.

Westbrook didn’t have the support of Kevin Durant after halftime due to the Thunder star suffering an ankle injury, which limited him to just 19 minutes on the court. Durant shone brightly in his limited appearance, scoring 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

Durant hurt his right ankle stepping on Marreese Speights‘ foot with seconds remaining in the first half.

ESPN.com’s Royce Young reported that Durant sprained the ankle, and he didn’t return for the second half:

Replacing a player of Durant’s caliber is impossible, and the Thunder didn’t get enough from the supporting cast to compensate for his exit.

It’s hard to add much weight to a regular-season game in the middle of December, but you couldn’t help but to see this game as a bit of a litmus test for both teams.

The Warriors are arguably the best team in the league at the moment, and beating the Thunder at full strength would keep Golden State atop its perch.

Meanwhile, few expected Oklahoma City to return to form so quickly after getting both Westbrook and Durant back. A win over the Warriors would add further validation to the idea that the Thunder are once again among the West’s elite.

Golden State already owned one win against OKC entering Thursday. Head coach Steve Kerr made sure to qualify that victory, noting that winning tonight would be much more difficult, per Sam Amick of USA Today:

As the Warriors pointed out on Twitter, this battle also pitted two of the NBA‘s top defensive units against one another:

Golden State, however, entered with a big disadvantage, both literally and figuratively. The team announced earlier Thursday that Andrew Bogut will be out indefinitely, per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:

His absence leaves a big hole inside, one the Thunder were happy to exploit early on. Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group noted how Curry especially was having trouble. Bogut often serves as the safety valve should Curry’s defender blow by and drive into the paint:

Oklahoma City jumped on the Warriors early, running out to a 30-13 lead six minutes and 44 seconds into the first quarter. The Thunder wrapped up the first frame with a 40-32 advantage. Golden State had no answer for Durant and Westbrook, who combined to shoot 10-of-17 for 29 points, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Golden State, Curry in particular, responded in kind in the second quarter, locking down on the defensive end and knocking down key shots on the offensive end. The Warriors clawed back to within a point, 48-47, 7:37 from halftime.

Just as the Warriors were having trouble corralling the Thunder’s biggest stars, Oklahoma City found itself at times helpless as Curry knocked down clutch three-pointers, such as this shot that gave the Warriors a 55-52 lead, via NBA on TNT:

That was the start of an 8-0 run, which helped propel the Warriors to a 65-63 halftime lead.

Golden State struck a good offensive balance in the first half. Curry led the way with 19 points, adding six assists. Thompson and Draymond Green also scored in double figures, while the bench contributed 15 points.

The bulk of Oklahoma City’s scoring was left to Durant and Westbrook, who had 30 and 15, respectively. The 30 points were Durant’s most this season:

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman wasn’t convinced, though. He questioned whether the Thunder were a little too reliant on the duo, which is the most common refrain about the team’s offense:

Durant’s importance to the team is obvious, and ESPN Stats & Info provided the quantitative first-half data illustrating the extent—at least in terms of Thursday night—of the decline in performance:

Without No. 35 on the court, Oklahoma City simply couldn’t break through, and when it did, it quickly ceded the advantage.

The Thunder continued to hang around, but Golden State kept them at arm’s reach. The Warriors owned a 94-89 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson stepped up a bit to help shoulder the scoring load, while Westbrook wasn’t shy about looking for his shot. The length and athleticism of the Thunder defense also helped to keep Oklahoma City in the game.

The Thunder took the lead in the fourth quarter, 105-104, with three minutes left following a jump shot from Westbrook. Golden State answered with three straight buckets to get back into the driver’s seat and own a five-point advantage with 1:39 to go.

A Harrison Barnes fadeaway iced the game for Golden State in the dying seconds. Young felt that it just wasn’t OKC‘s night:

Tim Bontemps of the New York Post also felt the play demonstrated Golden State’s team mentality, even in the crucial moments:

Durant’s injury not only made OKC‘s defeat somewhat inevitable, it also robbed NBA fans of what could’ve been a potential game of the year. The first half produced breathless, end-to-end basketball. The second was slightly more plodding, with the specter of Durant’s absence hanging throughout.

Luckily for Oklahoma City fans, his injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, as relayed by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Thunder stay on the West Coast for their next game. They move down the California coast to play the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Golden State gets a couple of days off before starting a rough stretch of four games in six days. The Warriors welcome in the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

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Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder holds his ankle as his teammates check to see if he is okay after he twisted his ankle towards the end of the first half of their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 18, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 34 points and nine assists, and the Golden State Warriors rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat Oklahoma City 114-109 on Thursday night after Thunder star Kevin Durant left with a sprained right ankle.


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OKC Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis

After the Memphis Grizzlies snapped the Golden State Warriors’ franchise-record 16-game winning streak Tuesday, the Warriors must regroup quickly with the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder coming to visit Thursday night.

The Warriors will once again be without center Andrew Bogut (knee) and forward David Lee (hamstring). Golden State (21-3) has picked up three wins during Bogut’s four-game absence, but the 7-footer leaves a noticeable void on the interior at both ends of the floor.

The Thunder, meanwhile, have put their early-season injury woes behind them and quickly forced their way into the playoff picture. Sparked by the returns of Russell Westbrook (26.4 points, 6.8 assists) and Kevin Durant (21.5 points on 50.4 percent shooting), Oklahoma City (12-13) now owns the NBA’s longest winning streak at seven games and is a half-game out of eighth place in the West.

But the Thunder have more climbing to do in the overcrowded Western Conference, so they will be looking for a win against a team they took two of three games from last season. Catch the TV broadcast at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT, but keep it locked here for the best updates, scores and analysis.

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Warriors’ Bogut out indefinitely after PRP therapy (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 2: Andrew Bogut #12 of Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Orlando Magic on December 2, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Just as they have the past two seasons, the Golden State Warriors will have to get by without center Andrew Bogut for an undetermined amount of time.


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Will Andrew Bogut’s Knee Derail Golden State Warriors’ Hot Start?

The Golden State Warriors have a full-fledged MVP candidate in Stephen Curry, a handful of guys in the Most Improved Player award running and more than enough two-way talent to be labeled as NBA elites.

But they do not have a championship formula without a healthy Andrew Bogut manning the middle on both ends of the floor.

The brawny big man has missed each of the team’s last four games, including Tuesday’s winning-streak-snapping 105-98 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The problem was initially labeled as right knee tendinitis, an injury that would be considered minor for most but raised a few red flags with his history of health issues.

Bogut has not cleared the 70-game mark since the 2007-08 season. Among the various ailments he suffered over that stretch were a dislocated elbow and broken wrist that prematurely ended his 2010-11 campaign, a broken elbow that limited him to 12 games the following year and a fractured rib that kept him out of the 2014 playoffs.

With those past problems in mind, there really is no such thing as a minor injury when it comes to the 7-footer.

“Because of his immense value and that hellish health history of his that goes back to those painful Milwaukee years, it’s serious cause for concern any time he steps foot off the floor,” wrote USA Today‘s Sam Amick.

To make matters worse, Bogut‘s most recent bout with the injury imp left him in worse shape than initially thought.

ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss passed along some troubling information on Bogut‘s condition:

Andrew Bogut clarified Tuesday that he is dealing with inflammation in his knee rather than the initial diagnosis of knee tendinitis.

Bogut explained how the diagnosis changed, saying, ‘I came on the trip so I didn’t have a lot of time to get it checked. From what I was told it wasn’t something I should be worried about, but evidently it probably is.’

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle shed more light on this unfortunate development:

Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll added some context to the new diagnosis:

It’s impossible to predict the long-term effects of Bogut‘s knee problem.

The Warriors still own the league’s best record at 21-3, its top-ranked defense and its sixth-best offense. This team is built to perform in May and June, so a little turbulence in December won’t send the sky crashing down.

Still, that litany of injuries cannot sit well with the Warrior faithful. As Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix noted, Bogut is an invaluable piece of Golden State’s championship puzzle:

There isn’t another Andrew Bogut on this roster. David Lee (who has been limited to only seven minutes by a strained hamstring) is a proficient passer who provides an interior offensive presence, Marreese Speights is comfortable operating on the high post and Festus Ezeli adds some rim protection.

The problem is Bogut does all of the above, while Golden State’s other options offer only a give-and-take scenario. Plug Lee or Speights into the frontcourt, and the Warriors defense becomes vulnerable in the middle. Go with Ezeli, and opposing defenses have one less offensive threat to worry about.

With Bogut anchoring the frontcourt, Golden State has been a wrecking ball on offense and an impenetrable fortress at the other end. The Warriors are averaging 111.0 points per 100 possessions while allowing only 91.3 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. That plus-19.7 net efficiency rating easily checks in above Golden State’s league-leading plus-11.6 mark.

Without Bogut, this team has a good-not-great plus-5.6 rating. That figure would tie as only the NBA’s eighth-best.

His best work comes on the defensive side of the ball, where he grades out as one of the game’s greatest stoppers.

He trails only Tim Duncan with a 5.83 defensive real plus-minus, per ESPN.com. Bogut is holding opponents to 38.6 percent shooting at the rim, per NBA.com’s player tracking data, which is the lowest among all players facing at least six such shots per game. He is tied for fourth with 2.2 blocks per game, and his paint presence alone discourages some from even attempting to get something up in his vicinity.

Over their first 19 games, the Warriors held their opponents to a league-best 53.7 percent shooting within five feet of the basket. These past five gamesBogut lasted fewer than three minutes before hurting his knee against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 8—that number has jumped to 57.1, 12th overall.

As strong as those statistics are, Bogut‘s value cannot be measured by box scores alone.

“Where I affect the game is the little things,” he told Sherwood Strauss recently. “Especially defensively, blocking shots, being a good helpside guy, calling out the paint, setting good screens, just doing little things that a lot of times don’t show up on the stat sheet.”

Bogut is Golden State’s defensive rock.

Coach Steve Kerr’s system keeps the big guy near the basket, and Bogut does a masterful job of harassing driving guards, contesting shots without fouling and rarely giving up prime rebounding real estate. Ezeli might stand close to Bogut as a shot-blocker (2.6 blocks per 36 minutes to Bogut‘s 3.1), but there is a deep divide between the two on the glass (9.5 boards per 36 to 13.2).

Kerr has also tapped into Bogut‘s wide array of offensive skills. Bogut‘s 4.2 assists per 36 minutes and 16.6 assist percentage would both shatter his previous career highs (3.2 and 13.9, respectively). The Warriors are shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from deep off his passes. Both marks would rank as the NBA’s best.

With 45.2 points a night coming from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson alone, the Warriors don’t need a lot of scoring from Bogut. But the center packs enough of a punch (7.1 points per game) to keep defenses honest, either floating in a hook shot or exploding to the rim on the back end of an alley-oop.

The Warriors aren’t the same without him. The defense loses its biggest deterrent. The offense misses one of its main catalysts.

Golden State might boast one of the deepest rosters in the league, but there is no substitute for a healthy Bogut.

It remains to be seen whether the Warriors will have that two-way weapon available when they need him most. For his part, Bogut doesn’t view himself as injury-prone, as he told Grantland’s Andrew Sharp recently:

I think most of my injuries, to be quite honest, 90 percent of them have just been unlucky. I can’t go and do weights and practice not falling off a rim and breaking my elbow. I can’t go and do a conditioning exercise to stop breaking my ribs. It’s not like I tore my quad or hamstring from being overweight or out of shape. It’s high-impact injuries because of the way I play.

Really, that’s good and bad news for the Warriors.

In a way, it means that Bogut‘s medical past is not necessarily a sign of more problems to come. These have been a string of unfortunate, unpredictable injuries.

But like he said, his physical style of play lends itself to potential issues. Bang into enough bodies, and there’s a chance one of those collisions could cause some serious damage.

The Warriors can only hope this injury doesn’t fall into that category.

The overcrowded Western Conference doesn’t allow for any comfort room. Golden State might have sprinted out of the gate, but it still stands just a game ahead of the second-placed Grizzlies—and only 4.5 up on the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Warriors should rush Bogut back before his body is ready. They need him healthy for the postseason, so they must do whatever they can to try to make that a reality.

Maybe that will send them searching for external assistance. Jermaine O’Neal provided a big lift as Bogut‘s backup last season, posting 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in only 20.1 minutes a night. The 36-year-old recently told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein he has not ruled out coming back to the NBA after the new year.

The Warriors might also consider checking what the trade market has to offer. They still need to consider cutting payroll at some point, so maybe they could shed a salary like Lee’s and pick up insurance behind Bogut at the same time.

It’s still hard to tell what exactly Bogut‘s injury means, but it certainly raises a few question marks.

It also hangs an ominous cloud above the franchise. Golden State has no reason to panic now, but that could change pretty quickly if its indispensable center cannot put this injury behind him.

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.

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Warriors’ 16-game win streak stopped by Grizzlies

Golden State’s 16-game winning streak ends, Memphis bench leads to 105-98 victory

      
 

 

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Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies 12/16/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The host Memphis Grizzlies snapped the Golden State Warriors‘ 16-game winning streak on Tuesday with a 105-98 win behind 24 points and seven rebounds from center Marc Gasol.

Zach Randolph had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis (20-4), while point guard Mike Conley dropped 17 points and five assists as the Grizzlies won their fifth straight game.

The Warriors, who still hold an NBA-best 21-3 record, hadn’t lost since Nov. 11 and were led by Klay Thompson’s 22 points.

Check out the video above for full highlights.

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