Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group tweeted yesterday that center Andrew Bogut is doubtful to play when the Golden State Warriors face Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.
But in case you're getting worried, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has also said that he hopes Bogut will only miss "a couple of games" as a result of his sprained toe, as first reported by ESPN and later elaborated on by Leung in an article published yesterday evening.
Results of an MRI exam taken Saturday were not immediately available, according to the team.
"We miss Bogut for who knows, hopefully just a few days, maybe a few games," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Saturday. "But we move on. We've got a deep team, and we've been successful no matter who we have out there."Our guys understand this is the NBA, everybody has injuries, and there's no excuses."
We've already reviewed what Bogut's absence meant for the Warriors against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and it's conceivable that rebounding could continue to be a problem as long as they're missing him and Festus Ezeli. We've already seen the Warriors can challenge the league's best without Bogut and Ezeli, but in the interest of entering the playoffs fresh it would be nice to have them back.
FanPost of the Week: How badly do you want Festus Ezeli to return?
Along those lines, our FanPost of the week comes from GSoM community member CurryUpOffense, who did a great job summarizing the latest on Ezeli in one place. As he wrote there, Ezeli is six weeks removed from his surgery as of today, which was supposed to be when he'd be evaluated.
Well, Rusty Simmons of the S.F. Chronicle reported yesterday evening that an update on Ezeli can be expected today while the team is off in Minnesota. With Ezeli working out and receiving positive reports, as CurryUpOffense described, let's hope for good news.
Adding to Draymond Green's case for DPoY
Given his performance in the absence of Bogut and Ezeli, I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to continue to highlight Draymond Green's defensive impact in a potential series against the Spurs and generally.
Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group wrote about Green believing that he is in fact better defensively than he was last year when he should have won Defensive Player of the Year. Yet as Thompson wrote, "...his dominance is much easier understood than explained, as its not revealed in blocks and steals and gaudy rebound numbers — the usual markers for top defenders."
Echoing that sentiment, Kelly Scaletta of Today's Fastbreak used Green as one of his examples to explain what defensive field goal percentage is. You should definitely click through to check out all the numbers and charts, but his main takeaway was about context: you have to look at how and why a player has the number they do in order to understand their quality as a defender.
...when Green is on the court, the Warriors give up an effective field goal percentage of 46.1. When he sits, it's 52.1 percent.
So when you factor in that Green is effectively defending just about the entire court, is guarding the most shots and his opponents magically shoot better when he sits down, it seems like Green is the reason the other team is missing.
When think about all Green does to unlock the Warriors' small ball lineup, it's had to conceive of him not getting Defensive Player of the Year this season.
Stephen Curry's cultural impact
The other big story from the weekend was how the Spurs locked down Steph Curry, holding him to just 1-for-12 3-point shooting.
Sam Amick of USA Today did a good job of describing how the Spurs changed their approach to get the job done, including assigning the taller, longer Danny Green to guard him.
His block of Curry’s three-pointer attempt early in the second quarter was an abominable snowman moment, as the smallish sharpshooter is such a wizard with the ball that he almost never gets rejected from long range (it happened one other time this season, via the Utah Jazz’ Rudy Gobert on Jan. 13)...In all, Curry – who missed his fair share of open looks – was 1-of-5 when Green guarded him, 0-for-7 with Parker on the job and 0-for-1 with Leonard defending. Three of his four makes came when big man LaMarcus Aldridge had the unenviable task of slowing Curry after a defensive switch.
Interestingly, ESPN's Tom Haberstroh and Shane Battier discussed what it takes to stop Steph Curry in a video published on Friday and pretty came up with the approach the Spurs came up with: don't foul him and don't let him get a clean catch-and-shoot look at the basket. That's obviously easier said than done, but I enjoyed hearing the perspective of a former defensive player of Battier's caliber.
With Green handling Curry, ESPN's Michael C. Wright described how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had Kawhi Leonard guarding Draymond Green instead.
Instead of using Leonard to defend Curry, Popovich stuck him on Green. Leonard served as the initial defender on Curry just twice all night. Leonard took on that role on 46 occasions against Green, who finished with just 11 points. In those 46 possessions, Green created just five assist opportunities. Curry was able to take a shot off a pass only once all night, which registers as the guard’s fewest attempts all season off passes from teammates. The Warriors shot only 2-of-14 when creating their own offense (shots not taken directly off a pass).
In other words, the Spurs have figured out something defensively to help stop the Warriors. The question now is just how the Warriors adjust next time around.
Unfortunately for the national audience tuning into watch Curry, the Spurs' defensive scheming ruined what can only be described as a cultural phenomenon. ESPN's Henry Abbott wrote about that phenomenon and nicely described how "Stephitis" is changing basketball for the better.
"Youth basketball has a problem," Delaney-Smith says. "Kids are pressured so much, and it has stopped being about fun and passion for the game. But now freshmen can't leave the gym because it's so fun. That's passion, and that's probably exactly how Steph learned to do those same things."
Although not referring to the term "Stephitis", Scott Cacciola of the New York Times wrote a great piece about how Curry's popularity is also affecting CSN's ratings with this anecdote that is absolutely perfect and something that I'm guessing we can all relate to.
The Warriors have emerged as a cultural phenomenon, especially in the Bay Area. Pollicino said that he had gotten tickets to that night’s game for his mother — "and she doesn’t watch sports at all," he said. Yet she wanted to know when Curry would begin his hallmark warm-up routine. "That blew me away," Pollicino said. "My 68-year-old mother didn’t want to miss Steph warming up. Are you kidding me?
That's actually something that Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation's Knicks blog Posting and Toasting mentioned in our podcast last week: you really get a sense of how great Curry is once you watch him with someone who is not deeply invested in basketball and suddenly can sit with you in amazement without even having a frame of reference for how unusual it is in the NBA.
This has been amazing. And we really need to take time to just sit back and enjoy it.
Odds & Ends
- Leung wrote about the Warriors' old friend David Lee prior to Friday's win and noted that he will finally get the ring ceremony he missed out on soon: "If the playoffs began Thursday, the Warriors would open the postseason with a series against the Mavericks, who currently occupy the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The two teams will meet again March 25 at Oracle Arena for what should be a special night. The Warriors are scheduled to present Lee with his championship ring in a pre-game ceremony as he returns for the first time since departing."
- Alex Wong of Complex Sports put together an outstanding oral history of the Chicago Bulls' 1995-96 season that is actually more worth reading for the trip down memory lane about that season in the words of Michael Jordan's teammates and competitors than the epilogue with people comparing him to Steph Curry or the Bulls to the Warriors. Definitely something anyone interested in the history of the game should read.
To me, the Spurs-Warriors takeaway— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 20, 2016
Game 1: fastest pace the Spurs played all season.
Game 2: slowest pace the Warriors played all season.
In their first meeting vs GSW, SA averaged 11.4 seconds per possession (4th quickest of the season). Last night? 14.2, fifth slowest.— Seth Partnow (@SethPartnow) March 20, 2016
Squares with the notion that even if they weren't super efficient, Spurs' offense put their defense in better spots than first meeting.— Seth Partnow (@SethPartnow) March 20, 2016
The Warriors' 43.9% three-point attempt rate tonight seems to be the highest ever allowed in a game by the Spurs. https://t.co/wS96eNgNww— Positive Residual (@presidual) March 20, 2016
Post ASB Klay is scoring everywhere. 25.1 PPG, 19.4 fga, 61ts%. Near 1/4 at rim. 1/3 in lane. pic.twitter.com/iKzEpgso4x— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) March 19, 2016
Klay Thompson is the first player in history to make 1,000 three-pointers in his first five years in the NBA. https://t.co/j1xiL0e5ps— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) March 19, 2016
Iconic tbh pic.twitter.com/bqCKQFL7du— LOLKNBR (@LOLKNBR) March 15, 2016
There are certainly other links, tweets, vines, and videos that I have missed, so feel free to drop links from this morning in the comments, create a FanShot with links that we can share on our social channels, or write a FanPost if you have a longer commentary to share with the community. There has been a lot of great content posted in the community sidebars and we've been trying to just refer you there during rather than making these posts any longer with them — please rec the ones you really like so we can promote the best ones to the front page.
And since Kurt Rambis has reminded us all that people other can actually view your "likes" on Twitter, feel free to check up on what I've been keeping track of during the week by following me at @NateP_SBN and letting me know what I've missed.