Bogut may return tonight against Raptors

Bogut may return tonight against Raptors
January 28, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Andrew Bogut has not played since Nov. 7 against Cleveland. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

There’s an elephant in the room – and it’s killing the Golden State Warriors with its size.

Golden State has not matched up well against teams that overpower them inside.

The Warriors have dropped the first two games of their current four-game Eastern Conference road trip because of their poor interior play.

Andrew Bogut, who according to various outlets including Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, may play tonight in Toronto against the Raptors. The Warriors center announced in early November that he planned to rest his surgically repaired left ankle for a short time but has missed 38 games since.

The Warriors are beginning to fade due to a lack of depth at the center position that’s revealing itself despite the surprising play of rookie Festus Ezeli and life out of Andris Biedrins.

Golden State may need Bogut sooner than later in what will be a tight Western Conference playoff race. The Warriors have lost six of their last 10 games and have fallen into a virtual tie with the Denver Nuggets for the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

In both of the last two games, the Warriors have been dominated in the key. In those two losses, the Warriors have allowed 57 second-chance points and scored just 19 second-chance points.

“We have played two teams that have a good front line,” Stephen Curry said after Saturday night’s loss in Milwaukee. “We just have to step our game up a little more. We really have to make a concerted effort to find bodies.

“We don’t have many guys that can just jump up over guys and grab rebounds. Five guys putting bodies on guys and going after loose balls.”

Ezeli is averaging 2.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game in 12 starts at center in January.

The Chicago Bulls won the battle on the boards 56-37 on Friday. They had 30 second-chance points to the Warriors' six points and they outscored the Warriors 36-22 in the paint.

On Friday night, the Bucks tallied 58 rebounds to Golden State's 50. Milwaukee also scored 27 second-chance points to Golden State's 13 and won the battle in the paint 40-38.

Warriors head coach Mark Jackson discussed his team’s rebounding woes following Saturday’s 109-102 loss to the Bucks, a game that came down to two points inside 30 seconds:

“When you allow a team to dominate you on the boards and get second-chance points it sucks the life out of your defense, and when you think about it, it’s a two-point ball game,” Jackson said. “If we rebound the ball and make a couple of plays it would be a different story.”

The Warriors had been successful thanks to their rebounding efforts, fourth in the league at 44.7 per game. They are led by 10.8 rebounds per game from David Lee and 6.7 rebounds off the bench from Carl Landry.

The Warriors will have an opportunity to gain an edge on the boards and a win tonight in Toronto. The Raptors rank near the bottom in the league in rebounding numbers, 28th in the league at 39.8 boards per game.

The Warriors are 21-3 in games in which they outrebound their opponent.

Golden State ended its stretch of 12 games against opponents with records above .500 on Saturday in Milwuakee.

The Warriors now face four consecutive sub-.500 teams, including tonight against the Raptors followed by the trip’s conclusion at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Warriors return home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday and Phoenix on Saturday.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for more Warriors news and analysis.

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