Andrew Bogut isn’t a great free-throw shooter. If we’re drawing up a list of weaknesses, that’s the only one that could explain Mark Jackson’s hesitancy to play the team’s best defensive player and only shot-blocker in the final minutes of so many games, especially recently.
Bogut isn’t perfect. He’s got an elbow issue that probably affects him more than people say, and when he doesn’t grab double-digit rebounds or a few blocks it’s easy to look at his minutes played and wonder where the time went. But if the Warriors in any way deserve the defensive identity that Jackson always trumpets, keeping him off the floor when games are close makes no sense.
Bogut got to play at the end of Saturday night’s 97-87 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, and he also played longer than usual — 34 minutes, the most he’s gotten in over a month. What’d he do with that time? Try 10 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5-for-5 from the field. Lots of fives in that stat line, and that number came to mind at the end.
Bogut was called for his fifth foul with 3:24 remaining, and Jackson kept him in. He challenged multiple shots from Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu, blocking one of them, until Andre Iguodala was called for an offensive foul. Then Bogut saved an offensive rebound. The Warriors would miss three shots on that possession, but Tyreke Evans got the rebound and within seconds his layup attempt was rejected by Bogut.
“Isn’t it a pleasure to see him finish a game here, in the fourth quarter, not having to sit? And the difference he makes,” said Jim Barnett.
After the Warriors looked like one of the league’s worst defensive teams for two straight games after their “much-needed break,” it’s clear that the Warriors have learned from their mistakes. And just in time, with Indiana coming to town on Monday.
— Stephen Curry had seven turnovers last night and averaged 5.5 turnovers in his previous 10 games coming in. Curry had 28 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and NO TURNOVERS against the Pelicans. Bogut wasn’t the only one out to prove something in New Orleans.
— Jordan Crawford looks like he’s happy to be a Warrior. 10 points in 13 minutes is exactly the kind of boost the Warriors were looking for, and Crawford’s range has been ridiculous so far.
— Harrison Barnes’ point totals in his last four games: 1, 15, 0, 0. I’ve been wondering whether the concussion he suffered in the playoffs has had lingering effects all season long, and I’m beginning to run short on alternative ways of thinking other than slowly giving up faith in Barnes’ potential as a starting forward in the NBA.
— The Warriors shot 44.0% from the field and 27.3% from three. The Pelicans are 15-24, but any team with Anthony Davis at home is at least going to be halfway decent. So, it’s good news for the Warriors that they were able to win a game without good-looking shooting numbers every once in a while.
— Just to show what the Warriors are in for on Monday, do yourself a favor and check out Paul George’s dunk tonight:
Imagine a team with George and Anthony Davis. Unless LeBron teamed up with Durant, I’m not sure what twosome would beat those guys.