The Golden State Warriors played 58 minutes of basketball Monday night in San Antonio. Stephen Curry led the way by playing four seconds shy of the entire game. Andrew Bogut, arguably the second most important player for the Warriors, played a grueling 38 minutes. Let’s take a look at how this might affect the rest of their series against the Spurs.
Once more, simply because it is so ridiculous – Curry played 58 minutes in Game 1 of this series. In the regular season, he averaged a little over 38 minutes per game. In the opening series against Denver, Curry upped the ante and averaged 40 minutes over the course of six games.
Deep into the fourth quarter, the weight of the minutes started to become apparent. Steph was often seen resting in the corner. This was a huge contrast to the weaving Curry we often see fighting through screens to get open at all costs. And when he did get the ball, his legs just were not giving him the lift he needed.
Though it’s a small sample size and for the sake of argument, let’s look at a four-game stretch where Curry played extended minutes. Remember that scoring outburst in Madison Square Garden? Curry played the entire 48 minutes, racking up 54 points on an absurd 11-for-13 shooting from three-point range. On one day’s rest, he played 42 minutes in Boston and shot 6-for-22 (3-for-11 3-point range). Understandably a dismal shooting display, but nonetheless a 25-point effort.
The next day at Philadelphia, Curry again logged 42 minutes. He shot 3-for-9 from 3-point range, but 30 points on only 20 shots. And finally, on another one day’s rest, Curry went for 42 minutes against Toronto, shooting 2-for-5 from the three, but he scored 26 points on 16 shots.
In the span of four games in six days, Curry played 180 minutes. In the three games that followed the legendary MSG outburst, he played an average of 42 minutes and scored 27 points per game.
Curry’s 3-point attempts decreased over the course of those four games, but he battled and found a way to put up numbers that will keep his team afloat. Tired legs should not be a concern, as Curry will more likely get his points and assists one way or another.
Bogut, on the other hand, is a player to keep an eye on for the rest of this series. He averaged 24 minutes a game during the course of the regular season. In March, his only real consistent month of the season, Bogut averaged 28 minutes a game.
In just the past two games, Bogut has played 39:20 and 36:58 and put up monster numbers in the process (12 points, 18 rebounds combined). Unfortunately, he has not had the consistent playing time for us to judge how he will respond to these big minutes.
As Tim Duncan heals and strengthens from his bout with the flu, I would expect Bogut to follow suit in playing time. Glass-ankle willing, Bogut will probably put it on himself to frustrate the future Hall of Fame big man down low.
Bogut prides himself on his defense, and being the only Warrior with the brain and brawn to match up with Duncan, expect him to take advantage of opportunities to prove his mettle as an NBA center.
The need for overall concern is minimal. The minutes are adding up, but the Spurs eat up just as many minutes as the Warriors. The young legs of Curry and the competitive intensity of Bogut will keep the Warriors fighting. It may not be pretty, but they should respond to the bell.