The Week That Was:
The week started with two of the most frustrating losses of the year, falling at home to Denver by seven and in Oklahoma City by six. While each game had quality performances by opponents, each ended up being punctuated by Andrew Bogut missing major time in the fourth quarter- more on that later.
Following those two defeats, the first half of the road finale against New Orleans made it seem like it could be a trilogy but a much better second half allowed the Dubs to put the game away.
The Soapbox: Lesson Learned?
In the immediate aftermath of the loss against Denver, I fully anticipated writing a piece on Coach Jackson sitting Andrew Bogut in the fourth quarter, especially for a key defensive possession that had timeouts on both ends where JJ Hickson ended up putting Denver in the lead to stay. To be clear, that criticism still applies should the behavior continue- Bogut is just too valuable to keep on the bench and sitting him for offensive purposes, especially in the final two minutes when off the ball fouls are off the table, simply cannot be excused.
The change happened after another loss in a game where the opponent went on a late run with Bogut on the bench, this time Kevin Durant’s explosion in Oklahoma City. The following day, Jackson actually stuck with his most important big man in New Orleans. Bogut came into the game when the Warriors had a five point lead with 7:07 remaining. In those final seven minutes and seven seconds, the Pelicans scored seven points and made only one shot from the field. The Aussie had more blocks (three) in those seven minutes than David Lee has had in any full game as a Warrior and the franchise has only had twelve 15 rebound, 5 block performances in the last two decades including Saturday.
Injuries to Jermaine O’Neal and Festus Ezeli have forced Jackson’s flaw to the forefront, at least to a point. While I understand the hesitance to play Bogut when the Warriors are in the bonus and there are more than two minutes remaining, the sub patterns have not followed that logic. Plus, if foul shots are keeping Andrew out of that middle stretch, Jackson should have him out there at the beginning every fourth quarter and plan to sit him as soon as the team draws their fourth foul. At least then he would be closer to maximizing the team’s third-most important player. After all, the Warriors should have enough offense in Curry and Klay to handle a sacrifice in scoring at the Center position considering how valuable Bogut continues to be defensively.
I can only hope that Saturday’s win reflects that Jackson has learned the lesson, whether that occurred before the game or after Bogut played so well.
The Week to Come:
Three home games but also three incredibly challenging opponents. The Pacers have been the best team in the NBA this season and have tough matchups for the Warriors all over the court, from George Hill guarding Steph to David Lee having to battle with David West.
Even though the Timberwolves have had a rougher than expected season in terms of record, Kevin Love may be the worst matchup in the league for David Lee and the team cannot afford to shift Bogut out of the paint to guard him. Iguodala should do a fine job on Kevin Martin and the Curry/Rubio duel should be fun, especially if you remember that they should have been teammates.
The capper on the week is the Blazers’ return to Oracle after the fireworks last time. I expect this one to be officiated tight from the start.
I am expecting a 1-2 week but it certainly could be 2-1 with a #FullSquad throughout the game instead of just parts of the first three quarters.