The resurrection of Andrew Bogut
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
When the Golden State Warriors traded for Andrew Bogut at the 2012 trade deadline, they thought they were getting a dominant, paint-protecting defensive presence. Unfortunately, back and foot injuries have kept the Australian big man and former No. 1 overall pick from living up to that promise in Oakland. Until now.
The Warriors pushed the Denver Nuggets to the edge of elimination, taking a 3-1 series lead after a 115-101 win. Bogut has been a defensive force all series, but he was particularly electric on Sunday, setting the tone at both ends of the floor in the first half before the Warriors’ shooters took over in the second.
With David Lee injured, Bogut and Carl Landry have been asked to shoulder a greater responsibility on offense and on defense, and so far, both have risen to the challenge. Landry scored 17 points on Sunday, while Bogut had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Bogut also threw down an impressive revenge dunk over JaVale McGee.
It took most of the season, but the Warriors are finally seeing the version of Bogut they wanted when they traded for him. Losing a player like Lee hurts, but if Bogut and Landry keep playing like this, Golden State has every reason to be optimistic about their chances going forward.
Third-quarter heroes: One day after Nate Robinson went nova with 23 points in the fourth quarter of a Chicago Bulls win, two players exploded in the third quarter of their respective games.
The Warriors’ Stephen Curry scored 22 of his 31 points in the third quarter, getting into one of those zones where he seemingly couldn’t miss anything. He shot 8-for-11 from the field during that period, mostly from beyond the arc. It was a performance so dominant that fans at Oracle Arena wanted to join the party.
The New York Knicks very nearly came back from a 20-point deficit against the Boston Celtics, thanks in no small part to point guard Raymond Felton. Felton scored 16 points in the quarter, shot 5-of-8 from the field, and played some terrific defense to keep the Knicks alive.
The nightmare is finally, finally, … [For more on Playoff Putbacks: The resurrection of Andrew Bogut, click here.]