Okay, folks, game two was one of the most exciting games that I’ve ever seen. Both teams were energetic with the scoring and electrifying plays, but in the end, the Warriors were able to get the best of the Nuggets. It was a bit of a statement game for the Warriors to prove guys like Charles Barkley, who said that the Warriors have no chance without David Lee, wrong.
When you dissect the absence of David Lee, however, you’ll see that there are many holes. Sure, the Warriors still out-rebounded the Nuggets, but something to account for is Kenneth Faried’s health. Faried came back from a four-game absence on Tuesday only to have a below-average game. He wasn’t hurting the Warriors with offensive rebounding or electrifying dunks. Carl Landry, Lee’s replacement, isn’t a terrible defender, but the young and energetic Faried is a more lively player.
Rebounding isn’t the only thing that the Warriors are missing. When on the fast-break, Stephen Curry often enjoys making flashy passes to Lee, who uses quickness to get his shot up. In the few fast breaks that the Warriors are going to have against the Nuggets, it may be Landry or Festus Ezeli on the run with Curry, and at that point, the basket won’t come as quickly. Landry often has to get a couple of pump fakes up before he can finish, and Ezeli usually has trouble catching the ball.
When Andrew Bogut was out earlier in the year, fans raved and rejoiced about how well the Warriors were playing in his absence. While the Warriors’ defense did improve, and rebounding sky-rocketed from last year, the Warriors weren’t a better team without Bogut. Sure, sometimes Landry and Lee were an effective tandem on the block, but they could never have a frenzy of blocks down low like Bogut sometimes does.
Curry has been playing at a superstar level, and just seems to be getting better everyday. He and Klay Thompson may be able to compensate for some of the points lost with Lee hurt, but the Warriors will always miss Lee’s rebounding and interior passing. Now that he’s been limited by injury, Bogut may score less. The Warriors need Bogut to be a secret weapon in the paint, where he used to be detrimental.
The perks of acquiring Andrew Bogut include having a 7’0″ shot-blocking, rebounding, and scoring machine on the inside to work with a great passer like Lee. Now that Lee is out, the Warriors are missing some potential scoring that they could get. Also, the Dubs are going to have to work a bit harder for the rebounds, because Bogut suffers from foul trouble. Last night against Denver, he was called for three moving screens.
The Warriors are going have to go into overdrive with work defensively and offensively. Last night, they were shooting 64%, but I’m sure that’s not going to happen again, as it’s pretty unlikely. They may have home court advantage in the series now, but the coaching of Mark Jackson is going to be a huge factor in a potential series win.