Andrew Bogut back but Warriors woes return

ByStuart Randall ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

For Andrew Bogut, it was like he'd never been away.

Win the tip, meander forward, get called for an illegal screen after nine seconds.

Welcome back to the NBA.

Bogut's Warriors return, nearly three years since his last dance with Golden State, was brought forward after an injury to DeMarcus Cousins, so instead on Indiana in Oakland, it was the trickier proposition of the Spurs in Texas -- and a match up with All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Eyebrows were raised as Bogut took his place in the starting five, and coach Steve Kerr admitted pre-game, that the center "burst out laughing" when he was told, but he soon shook off any rust.

Screens, astute passing, and two big dunks. The second of which took him to the foul line. Nothing but net. The movement around the court may not have been as fluid as the past, but you never lose the basketball brain.

After an initial seven minute stint, Bogut was on the bench, breathing hard, a towel around the neck, and the Spurs promptly took control of the game. Eleven points up at the half. A misfiring Warriors, with Bogut outscoring Klay Thompson seven-nil.

The second half saw Bogut resume battle with Aldridge. To-and-fro. A tip in and an open dunk from the Spurs big man. A handful of rebounds, a drawn offensive foul, and a classy assist for Bogut. Then another spell on the bench as the Warriors began to reduce the deficit. Down four at the end of the third, but blown out again as Patty Mills led the way at the start of the last for the home team. Bogut impassive on the pine, waiting for a chance. The Spurs, as they have done for much of the last two weeks, surging.

Four minutes to go, seven points down, Bogut back into the game, but the Warriors, disjointed and suffocated by Spurs defense. A big win in Texas for the home side.

And Bogut? A surprise starting role, a promising beginning, before limited minutes and opportunities. He left Oakland with a ring and the confetti falling. He returns with the task of repeating those scenes, far from simple.

Related Video