Andrew Bogut shouldn’t get all of the blame for the Golden State Warriors’ six-game losing streak, simply because Bogut sat out the losses to the Thunder and Mavericks — two games where the Warriors were outscored by a total of 48 points. Before the Warriors’ six-day rest period, Bogut called out the entire team for shaky defensive fundamentals. After yet another double-digit loss against an opponent that scored over 110 points, Bogut ripped himself.
Q: Coach said you weren’t moving well out there. You feel that way?
“No. I was out there. … I had a bad night personally. I just played like s#@$. Festus and Biedrins didn’t do a bad job tonight.”
Here’s how bad Bogut was: Biedrins played 44 more seconds than Bogut, scored 2 points to Bogut’s 0, and out-blocked the Aussie (1-0). Mark Jackson wouldn’t go as far as to say the Warriors might rethink their plan to let Bogut play the second end of back-to-backs tomorrow night, but he had to admit his starting center looked gimpy.
How can the Warriors possibly expect Bogut to look faster and more agile in less than 24 hours? The Warriors absolutely must defeat the Phoenix Suns or face the very real possibility of a losing streak that goes from worrisome to catastrophic. On Friday the Spurs come to Oracle, then they have a five-game eastern road trip before the 16-out-of-22-home-games stretch to end the season that everyone seems to be taking a little too much solace in.
The last time Phoenix came to Oracle also happened to be the last time the Warriors won a game. Golden State crushed the Suns by 20 points, and Andrew Bogut scored 11 points and blocked 3 shots. In the first three games Bogut played after a 38-game layoff to rest his surgically repaired ankle (all wins, ending with the aforementioned victory over the Suns), he averaged 3.3 blocks per game. In Bogut’s last four games he has averaged 0.5 bpg.
If Bogut’s ankle isn’t getting better, and very well may be getting worse, the Warriors need to ask themselves how long their grow-with-Bogut window can remain open. The Warriors have time, since they’re 5.5 games ahead of the Lakers (a total mess) and Blazers (also losers of six straight). Also, so many other Warriors look either lost or lackadaisical that Jackson isn’t in a hurry to bench Bogut, not when he’s probably showing as much toughness as anyone else on the team.
Jackson isn’t seeing much fight these days from David Lee, who had a similar game to the 140-109 loss in Houston where he played 26 minutes and went 8-for-10 with 7 rebounds. Against the Jazz: 31 minutes, 9-for-13, 9 rebounds. Lee said he was tired on Tuesday, and he didn’t regain his legs with that stay in Houston — on defense, anyway. One could say nearly the exact same thing about Klay Thompson, whose numbers far outpaced his closeouts on 3-point shooters or defensive rotations.
Festus Ezeli is already out of Jackson’s rotation, and the other rookies might find themselves sitting more than they’d like if they continue to produce next to nothing. Harrison Barnes only played 7 minutes in the first half, and finished with 3 points, no rebounds and no assists in 19 minutes. He doesn’t play well enough on the defensive end to counteract such a ghostlike stat line. Draymond Green went 1-for-6 from the field in his 15 minutes, but on the bright side he also accumulated 2 rebounds and an assist.
But Lee, Thompson and the rookies won a lot of games in the first half of this season and look as close to 100% physically as one could hope for after 53 games. Bogut forces the team to play differently on both ends. If he’s a liability the Warriors have to cover for, one has to wonder: how much longer can they afford to have him out there?