Bogut Shines in Return as Warriors Beat Raptors


March 4, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Golden State Warriors center David Lee (10) dunks against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 7’1″ Australian is officially back and he couldn’t have looked better. He finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. A solid offensive and defensive performance, which the Warriors have been looking for all this season. To cap off a great return, the Warriors won, 114-102.

In the early going, the Warriors and the Raptors both played well and traded baskets. Defense was good on both ends of the floor, especially because of Andrew Bogut. At the end of the first and in the early second, David Lee had 11 points, and Stephen Curry had eight.

The Warriors started to heat up in the second quarter, but the Raptors found themselves leading 36-34 in a very high-scoring game. Although the Raptors’ defense was rocky, they were able to do enough, while matching the production of the Warriors.

The Raptor bigs, Ed Davis and Aaron Grey, really hurt the Warriors on the glass. The dependency on Bogut’s rebounding was clear. Better yet, they scored 62 points in the paint. Thompson and Lee, however, were able to keep the Warriors in the game, and the contest was tied 52-52 at half.

In the early third quarter, Stephen Curry and David Lee lead the Warriors to a 14-5 spurt which put them up 70-61. Right after that, however, the Raptors had their own run, thanks to some poor defense by Warriors. At the end of the third, the Dubs lead 84-82.

The fourth quarter was very ugly for the Warriors, in the injury-sense. Curry tweaked his ankle and would not return. Though he remained on the bench for a bit, which can be considered as a positive sign.

Nevertheless, the Warriors grabbed a nine-point lead with six minutes remaining in the fourth. From the passing skills of the Warrior bigs and the execution, the Warriors got some good looks. They also shut the Raptors to well under 30 percent shooting. Harrison Barnes’ thunderous flush really finished the Raptors off. Barnes landed awkwardly, putting the Warriors on another injury scare, but he appeared to be fine.

Ultimately, the Warriors won, 114-102.

The main story was Bogut’s return and his impact. Because of Bogut’s big presence, he was able to draw defenders. This opened opportunities for David Lee who scored inside and on the outside because of Bogut’s passing prowess. Bogut also opened up some 3-point opportunities to one of the best shooters on the floor in Thompson. Defensively, Bogut forced some big misses, and collected four blocks, including two in just a matter of seconds.

Once again, the MVP of the game was David Lee who finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Klay Thompson finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Stephen Curry finished with 17 points, and Harrison Barnes finished with 14 points.