Warriors’ blowouts help chemistry, Bogut remains underrated

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PHOTO BY DANIEL KATZ

Here’s a little of this and that after the Warriors’ 127-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at Oracle – a place where they haven’t been defeated in more than a year.

It’s been a wonderful stretch for the Warriors, with impressive wins over Cleveland, Chicago and San Antonio. Not that Indiana and Dallas aren’t competent, but those first two were on the road for Golden State and the game against the Spurs was the biggest game of the year so far.

They haven’t just won, they’ve been dominant.

A few things:

—-If there’s one frustration Warriors’ fans might have with this team it’s that they’re so good Stephen Curry frequently doesn’t play in the fourth quarters. And fans want to see him as much as possible.

But there’s a really nice byproduct of the Warriors blowing out many teams and it has nothing to do with rest for their core players. It has to do with maintaining team chemistry and letting everyone in on the success.

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Photo by Daniel Katz

Both Steve Kerr and Luke Walton have gone deep into the bench and as frequently as possible. Because the Warriors have often been in control of games from the get-go, it’s allowed the coaching staff to get to the No. 9 through No. 12 guys more than other teams.

Brandon Rush, who even started in Harrison Barnes’ absence, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights and Ian Clark are consistently in the mix for this team. They might not play here and there, but they play more than most NBA players in their spots. And that keeps them engaged.

They not only get long stretches of playing time in many fourth quarters, they also are often sprinkled into games earlier than that, getting time with the starters. That doesn’t hurt morale.

—-One of the most underrated aspects of the Warriors’ success this season – and last season — remains the rim protection of Andrew Bogut.

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Photo by Daniel Katz

For the past season-and-a-half, Bogut has been as good defensively as any big man in the league, and yes that includes DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Rudy Gobert or whoever else.

Bogut has been unbelievable when it comes to changing shots and forcing players into misses. And even better than that he changes shots of all players, point guards through centers.

If you’re a big man who’s limited offensively, you have no chance against Bogut. He’s quicker, smarter and significantly more skilled than most centers out there. He’ll confound them. The other thing he does is stifle penetration from wing players. How many times have we seen Bogut help out a beaten player on the perimeter and block or change a shot at the rim?

Bogut has been so good defensively, he’s turned a Warriors’ weakness into a strength. Even those times when the Warriors’ perimeter players allow penetration, chances are Bogut will clean up the mess. Not only that, he’ll frequently fuel a fastbreak because the beaten defender is already leaking out on the break, knowing Bogut is likely to bail them out.

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Photo by Daniel Katz

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About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz currently co-hosts the "Warriors WrapUp" show and "NBA This Week" on 95.7-FM The Game, the franchise's flagship station, in San Francisco. He also co-hosts the Sal and Steiny podcast.
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One Response to Warriors’ blowouts help chemistry, Bogut remains underrated

  1. Richard Katz says:

    I totally agree about Bogut. One other non stat that he excels in is “shots not take.” So often you will see an opposing player start to go to the rim and as Bogut looms in, the player changes his mind and either takes the ball away from the rim or passes out to another player. I personally think Bogut, for this team, is the perfect center. In fact you mention perimeter players “allowing”
    penetration as a weakness. Actually, I’ve heard the players say, they purposely do it because they know Bogut is there to help out. When they do it purposely, I believe it because it allows that player to double team someone else.
    It’s no accident the Warriors became a great team when Bogut arrived. Sure, it also allowed Curry to blossom but ask yourself why. It wasn’t just because Ellis was gone. Yep, who sets the best screens in the NBA. That’s a rhetorical question.

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