Entries in Andrew Bogut (5)


S.F. Examiner: Fight night: Feisty Warriors-Clippers rivalry back on center stage

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

Consider it proof that rivalries still matter and thrive in sports. What unfurls again tonight in downtown Los Angeles, and what could await in the second round of the postseason, qualifies as NBA antagonism at its thickest and feistiest. From a near-brawl on a memorable Christmas night to the ongoing commentary of Draymond Green, the Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers truly cannot stand each other, which is a little hard to believe when weighing the respective histories of the franchises.

"We don't like each other," Warriors center Andrew Bogut said, flatly.

Read the full story here.

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner 


Warriors have the look of a contender

By Art Spander

OAKLAND — The owner, Joe Lacob, walked out of the tunnel that goes from the court to the locker room and said to nobody in particular, “I feel better now.” Of course.

The Warriors had won, had stopped a mini-losing streak at two games. Still, with the team he has, Lacob should always feel good.

As should the Warriors fans.

This team has the look of, well, it’s tough to say champion, what with San Antonio and Cleveland very much a part off the NBA, but a definite contender, a team that will not crash out until very late in the playoffs. If at all.

The two guys we have declared as the heart and shooting soul of the W’s, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the “Splash Brothers,” were imperfect Thursday night. But with Andrew Bogut at his very best and Draymond Green quite magnificent, the result at Oracle Arena was anything but imperfect, a 107-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

And so the W’s, after a 5-0 start and consecutive defeats, are 6-2. Asked if he was pleased that with his stars not exactly starring (Thompson was only 8 of 22 from the floor, although he had a game-high 25 points) the team could win, Kerr chose not to be that specific.

“I am pleased anytime we win,” was his answer, implying it didn’t matter how or who.

It did matter that the 7-foot Bogut, unfettered and healthy, had 11 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

“Bogey,” said Kerr, “was terrific. He can dominate defensively at the rim. He can rebound and he’s a terrific passer. That’s why we run the offense the way we do, with all those dribble handoffs.

“We need him to roll to the rim hard and get fouled. It was good to see him get to the line a little bit (3 of 5 on free throws) and get in the paint.”

He got to the Nets. Bogut doesn’t have a great touch, but he has great emotion and intensity. His dunks set off the crowd, which didn’t get going until about a third of the way into the second quarter once the Warriors got going.

The game was tied, 44-44, with a bit under eight minutes in the half, then, wham — or in deference to Bogut, should we say “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi”? — the Warriors were in front, 66-55.

“One of our goals this year,” said Kerr, “is to dominate the home court. The crowd was fantastic. It took us a while to get going. I think the whole key to getting the crowd involved is defense. Once you get the stops and get rebounds you can get out and run, and then the crowd gets into it.”

The first half, the Warriors had 18 assists and only three — three, count them — turnovers. That’s the stuff of a winner.

“We have a deep team,” said Curry, who finished with 17 points (for him, we say “only" 17 points). “Any night, someone can step up and make the right play.”

Like Bogut, or Green, who had 17 points and was three of eight on three-pointers.

“Our job,” said Curry, the captain, “is to be aggressive, create offense and make the right play. We need that second and third punch.”

Kerr contends that even with a winning record the Warriors are a work in progress. After all, the season’s only a couple weeks old. “We’ll get better,” he said, knowing full well every other team in the league will also — other than the sad-sack Philadelphia 76ers, that is.

“We are still adjusting and finding our identity,” said Kerr. “I want them to be explosive but a little less wild. That can be done, but it’s tricky.

“You don’t want to take away their spirit, but you have to be smart too. For the most part tonight it was pretty good, 30 assists and 11 turnovers. We missed some shots we normally make, and we had some open ones. What I tell our guys is that we are six weeks into this as a staff, and as a team we are just scratching the surface of what we are going to be.”

Which is one of the top teams in pro basketball.


Warriors went from underdogs to favorites – to winners

By Art Spander

OAKLAND — They kept using the underdog card, telling us nobody expected them to win this first-round NBA playoff series, which is more fiction than fact because once the thing got rolling, and rocking, it was obvious the Golden State Warriors should have been the favorite.
Sports is like that, full of people who seem more intent on showing us, proving to the world, that they can succeed than actually succeeding. It’s a crutch many use, so if they fail, well, then they concede, “We weren’t supposed to win anyway.”
But on this wild Thursday night, in this sixth game of a first-round series against the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors in truth weren’t supposed to lose. They weren’t going to lose. And after a 92-88 victory at Oracle Arena that gave them the series, four games to two, it’s time to contemplate the reason as provided by Nuggets coach George Karl.
“We didn’t lose the series tonight,” said Karl. His team was the third seed in the Western Conference, the Warriors the sixth seed.
“We lost the series in Game 1 and 2. We didn’t play well enough to sustain some confidence. In Game 1, we won a close game. In Game 2, we gave everything back that we worked for 57 (regular season) games to get . . .  We didn’t play well in Game 1. We played worse in Game 2. Then we came in here and fought pretty hard.”
Sounds like the underdog, doesn’t it? In retrospect, the way the Warriors performed, turning the odds, upside down, maybe Denver was. The Warriors were exposed, in a positive way, as a team that belongs, a team that deserved to win.
Game 6 was a perfect reflection of the series and the NBA, the Warriors coming from behind, the Warriors going far ahead — 18 points — and finally the Warriors holding on.
Confetti poured down. Deafening screams resounded, but in truth there surely was as much relief as of elation. Underdog? Favorite? The optimum word might be survivor.
“I get emotional,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. He is a pastor. He is religious. He had been fined $25,000 earlier in the day for what the league said were remarks intended to influence the officials.
“I think God has a sense of humor,” said the coach-pastor, “because he wanted to show folks at the end as we threw the ball all over the place, and it’s only a miracle that we advanced.”
Jackson, who went from a position as a TV commentator to the Warriors job, tends to deal in the dramatic. More often than not he uses the phrase “at the end of the day.” And for this game he brought back forward David Lee, who a couple of weeks ago Warriors management said wouldn’t play again this year because of an injury.
A New Yorker, Jackson grew up on the tale of Willis Reed hobbling out of the Madison Square Garden locker room in the 1970 NBA finals, moving into the Knicks lineup and beating the Lakers. Jackson was only five when that occurred, but if he didn’t see it, he heard about it.
“I guess the New York City in me,” said Jackson, explaining his decision to use Lee — if only for fewer than two minutes. “The Willis Reed impact as a kid really played a role. Not only did I put Lee in, bit I ran a play for him for a shot, just about where Willis hit his shot.”
Great theater, but it was, as always, super guard Stephen Curry and finally hulking 7-foot center Andrew Bogut, who made the difference. In Game 4, Curry scored 22 points in the third quarter. In Game 6 he scored 14 in the third quarter, 22 for the game.
Bogut, obtained in a trade a year ago from Milwaukee but seemly recovering forever from a fractured ankle, had 21 rebounds, a career high, 14 points, four blocked shots and three assists.
“Bogut,” said Karl, “I’m not worried about him offensively. I mean, he would be their second most valuable player in the series. Curry was fantastic. Bogut’s ability to clog up the middle, you know, I’d forgotten how good he was at it. He’s a veteran player that I think showed a lot of professional class tonight.”
The Nuggets, who led by 11 in the first half, had Curry stymied. He had taken a mere six shots and made only one. But then, once more, the telling third quarter. Three 3-pointers, and the small deficit had become a large lead.
“I’m just trying to be patient,” said Curry. “The way Denver was defending me, they were trying to run me off the 3-point line a lot, blitzing, a lot of pick-and-rolls, trying to get the ball out of my hands. I try to be aggressive. I don’t want to force any possessions. Third quarter, I got my rhythm.”
Curry was asked what went through his mind as the 18-point lead kept shrinking. “Each possession,” he said, “it can’t get any worse than this. Then it does . . . But we got to learn from it.”
Underdogs always do. Even when they’re not underdogs.


To the Nuggets, the Warriors are magic

By Art Spander

OAKLAND — The other coach, George Karl, and he’s an experienced coach, a winning coach, made a reference to the mystical, as if this first-round NBA playoff was being determined by factors other than suffocating defense and offense that does at times seem otherworldly.
“They’ve found some magic,” Karl said of the Golden State Warriors, “and we’ve got to take it away.” But time and games are running out for Karl’s Denver Nuggets. Time, games and history.
The Warriors did it again to the Nuggets on Sunday night, a Sabbath of bewilderment and not faith for Denver, figuratively run off the court at Oracle Arena, 115-101, by the Warriors, who now are one game away from the series everyone presumed would belong to the Nuggets.
Three games to one, the Warriors lead now, after three straight victories. They broke the curse — maybe it was magic — last week, winning at Denver where the Nuggets had lost only three times in 41 games during the regular season.
Sunday night, they broke Denver’s back.
It was Andrew Bogut, rattling rims — and maybe Karl’s senses — dominating in the first half and then, on a sore ankle, Stephen Curry, with 22 points in the third quarter and 31 for the game, in the second half.
It was defense that had the Nuggets throwing away passes and rushing shots.
It was basketball played by the book and by the heart, basketball that had a sellout crowd of 19,596 in a three-hour frenzy.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson, while enthralled, was also wary, offering the obligatory, “It’s not over yet” when we know it is — even if a year ago Denver rallied to beat the Lakers.
But the Warriors are the better team, the hotter team, the growing team. They might drop Game 5 Tuesday night at Denver, but they certainly will not lose Game 6 back in Oakland.
There’s no fear in the Warriors, and no reluctance either. They are believers and competitors. They swarm when the opponent has the ball — in the second quarter, the Nuggets made 10 turnovers to the Warriors one. The connect when they have the ball.
“God bless Steph Curry,” said Karl, “but there’s Jarrett Jack and (Carl) Landry. They also score. Turnovers gave (the Warriors) control of the ball. But it takes one game to turn it around, to regain our confidence.”
The Warriors are the confident ones. They’ve always been confident. It’s an expression of youth and fantasy. To the Warriors, anything is possible. Even shooting 75 percent, which they did in the third period, hitting 13 of 17 from the field.
Curry, naturally, was the catalyst. The right ankle, the one that’s troubled him for years, the one that required surgery, was sore even before the game, and so he received an injection, a pain killer.  
However, the hurt remained early on, and so Jackson thought of benching his star and did take him off the court for a long while.
Finally the pain subsided after intermission. Curry was able to flee the Nuggets’ trapping defense. A shot went in. Then another. Then another. In the last 4 minutes 22 seconds of the third quarter, Curry scored 19. Game, set and virtually match.
“He put the team on his back,” said Jackson, repeating a comment he’s used frequently, and for good reason. After that, someone from the Nuggets put a finger in Curry’s eye. With the Warriors up by 20 or so, Jackson smartly pulled Curry.
“I was considering shutting him down in the first half,” said Jackson, “and I told him that. It was almost like a boxer who knew he was on the ropes, because it was a matter of time. I told him I didn’t need him to be a hero. Smart coaching, huh? I guess he realized and sensed that, and he captured the moment and embraced the moment.
“The thing that stood out to me, it’s almost like he was waiting for this moment his entire career and wasn’t going to allow his body to tell him that he was too hurt to match the moment. It was an incredible, incredible performance by him once again.”
It was a performance reminiscent of that by Sleepy Floyd, who for the Warriors in a 1987 playoff against the Lakers scored 51 points, a record 29 in the third quarter. The Warriors coach that game: George Karl.
“They were definitely the quality offensive team,” Karl said of these Warriors on Sunday night. “They have shooters like they have, and Bogut played well.”
The 7-foot Bogut, acquired in a trade a year ago but not entirely recovered from ankle surgery that predated the swap, was aggressive and mean in the first half. He had several dunks, going to the basket as Denver trapped Curry, and one, reshown on the big screen again and again, was the stuff — literally — that brought fans to their feet hollering in delight.
“He was off the charts,” Jackson said of Bogut. “I thought he was the key to keeping us in the ball game, setting screens, rebounding, playing physical.”
Curry was on the charts, taking 16 shots and making 10, going 6 of 11 on 3-pointers. He also had seven assists, numbers that have to be displayed.
“The way I explain it,” said Jackson, a who has his own church, “(Curry) is blessed.”
If you choose to describe that as magic, all well and good.


SF Examiner: Warriors make a major change, but will it be progress?

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner

So, isn’t that a heck of a deal for the Warriors, trading one of the NBA’s best scorers, Monta Ellis, to Milwaukee for a tall Australian with a broken ankle?   But hey, it proves the front office is willing to make moves, and didn’t Dante say something like, in times of moral crisis, the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who stand around using a zone defense?

The suspicion is the W’s could suit up five guys from Mosswood Park in Oakland and still sell out Oracle Arena, as they did Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics — Monta or no Monta, and certainly no Andrew Bogut, the Aussie with the ankle.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2012 SF Newspaper Company