With the recent news of center Andrew Bogut’s fractured ribs, the Golden State Warriors will head into the postseason shorthanded. Much like last season when they lost David Lee in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors will have to shuffle their deck in order to make another run in the playoffs. However, the likelihood of that run is all but gone with the loss of Bogut.
What Bogut brings to the Warriors does not necessarily show up in the box score, but in the overall outcome of the ball game. There is a reason why Golden State reached just their fourth 50 game win total in franchise history, and it starts on the defensive end of the floor with their anchor Andrew Bogut. His ferocity, strength and toughness give the Warriors an element that they have not hot in decades. His presence will be missed immensely.
Bogut initially injured his ribs in a loss against Denver last Thursday in which he was elbowed by Nugget Kenneth Faried. He played through the injury on Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers, but reinjured it Sunday night in Portland after getting caught between two Blazers, causing further damage to the ribs.
“I’ve got to be careful, because if it cracks I’m looking at a punctured lung. You’ll see me in the hospital with a tube coming out of me,” Bogut said. “It’s one of those things people have played through, but this is too close to comfort for me.” The type of fracture that he has typically takes about six weeks to recover from.
Bogut’s 7.3 points, 10 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.8 blocks simply cannot define what he means to his team. With his 67 games played, it was the most since his ’09-’10 campaign. While the Warriors were 10-4 in his absence, seven of those games were against teams with losing records. With Bogut, Golden State ranks third in the league in opponents field goal percentage and fifth in rebounds. But the playoffs are a much different game.
With a likely first round matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State will have to contain both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the paint. Griffin has been a top five MVP candidate all season long, averaging 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Jordan averaged 10.3 points and 15.3 rebounds, five of them offensive, against the Warriors in their four contests. Now it will be up to David Lee, Draymond Green, Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights to contain the powerful Clipper bigs formerly known as “Lob City.”
The two teams split their regular season series an even 2-2. But as of late, the Clippers have been rolling while it appears that the Warriors are still trying to figure out who they are. It won’t get any easier for them now that they are short handed. Their best bet may be to go extra-small, reminiscent of the old Don Nelson days, and try beat the Clippers at their own game. The lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and David Lee just dazzled on Monday night, helping make an unbelievable 19 point comeback against the Minnesota Timberwolves for their 50th win of the season.
There are options for Mark Jackson, just not as many as he would like. The still recovering Festus Ezeli would be a great luxury to have right now. But instead there will probably be minutes out there for Hilton Armstrong. Not kidding. Luckily they still do in fact have Stephen Curry, arguably the best player in the series. With flashbacks to some of Allen Iverson’s 76ers teams, it is very possible for Curry to win one or two games for the Warriors. But four? Doubt it. Not against a Doc Rivers lead team. Clippers in six.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer for the Golden State Warriors