Although buried underneath Stephen Curry’s herculean efforts in the third quarter, Andrew Bogut was a hidden gem, serving as a defensive anchor, main interior distributor and strong post presence.
Bogut played nearly 27 minutes in regulation and picked up a double-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and one block. Although his free-throw shooting left much to be desired, Bogut demonstrated that his grace at finishing at the basket with finger-rolls and layups is matched only by his stifling defense in the paint.
One of the Warriors’ main goals for the game was to play strong interior defense, not only to keep veteran forward Tim Duncan contained, but also to prevent Tony Parker’s penetration style. The results speak for themselves as they kept Parker to 12 points on 28.5 percent shooting in the first three quarters.
Bogut saw only 2:35 seconds of play in the fourth quarter and his presence, or lack thereof, became painfully apparent. Parker penetrated the paint unlike he had before and scored eight in the fourth, with all of the Spurs’ nine makes from the field coming in the paint.
Golden State found themselves shooting 25 percent in the fourth quarter, which proves Bogut’s usefulness is twofold; he serves as an interior presence that can slow the offense down and serve as an additional stop for the ball. The pass to Bogut inherently forces the Warriors to wait for better looks and Bogut has proven himself as a proficient distributor, picking up four assists in this game, and averaging 2.6 dimes per 36 minutes in the playoffs.
Bogut’s usefulness as a lethal above-the-rim finisher can’t be downplayed, as his proficiency contributed to the Warriors insane 60.9 percent shooting from the field for the first three quarters. Bogut logged 37 minutes out of potential 58 to minutes this game, and Mark Jackson’s reluctance to ride Bogut too hard is understandable given his mostly injury plagued season, but if the Warriors want to continue gaining, and holding onto, leads for the rest of this series, Bogut will need to play an even greater role for the Warriors.