NEWS OF THE MORNING
Per our David Aldridge, Bogut’s injury could sideline him for the rest of The Finals …
And ESPN.com’s Marc Stein says Bogut will miss the next 6-8 weeks …
No. 1: Warriors may not have Bogut for Game 6 — Tuesday was a travel day for the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers as they made their way back to Ohio for Thursday’s Game 6 in The NBA Finals. Before the Warriors left town, center Andrew Bogut had an MRI to check on the status of his left knee that he injured while attempting to block a shot in Game 5. While the results of the MRI are unknown at this time, Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reports Golden State is preparing itself for the likelihood that Bogut will be out (but forward Draymond Green will be back):
The Warriors will get power forward Draymond Green back from suspension for Thursday’s Game 6, but they don’t expect to have starting center Andrew Bogut.
“Draymond does a little bit of everything: his playmaking, his rebounding, his communicating and his heart and soul. Obviously, we missed him big time,” Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said. “… If Bogut is out Thursday, our bigs are just going to have to step up. They’ve been doing it all year.”
Bogut played only 7½ minutes in Monday’s Game 5 loss that trimmed the Warriors’ lead in the NBA Finals to 3-2. After jumping to block a layup attempt by Cleveland’s J.R. Smith in the third quarter, Bogut planted his left leg moments before Smith rolled into it and appeared to hyperextend the knee.
The Warriors’ 7-footer writhed in pain under the basket for two possession until there was finally a stop in play. His leg was immobilized as he was helped to the locker room, but teammates said he was putting weight on the leg later.
The initial diagnosis was a sprained knee, but results from Tuesday’s MRI exam had not been evaluated by all of the Warriors’ doctors by the time the team landed in Cleveland.
Worries about losing the team’s best rim-protector come on the heels of the Warriors’ worst defensive effort during the postseason. They allowed a playoff-high 53 percent shooting from the floor and yielded a combined 82 points to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.
Irving and James either scored or assisted on 97 of the Cavaliers’ points, including the team’s final 25 baskets. The last field goal that wasn’t directly produced by Irving or James was an Iman Shumpert layup with 5½ minutes left in the first half.
“To repeat a performance like this would definitely be tough, but whatever it takes to win, we’re willing to do,” Irving said.
The return of Green will help in squelching a sequel as the Warriors desperately missed his defensive communication and his ability to read proper switching and help defense situations. Irving and James shot 61.1 percent from the floor while Green was exiled from Oracle Arena on Monday. In Games 1-4, they shot 9-for-26 when he was the primary defender on either.
If Bogut is out or hobbled, the Warriors will need to get something out of Festus Ezeli, Anderson Varejao and/or Marreese Speights.
The Warriors also will be comfortable going small with Green returning. Their small-ball lineup has outscored Cleveland by 51 points with Green at center and has been outscored by 16 points without Green.
After a moment of dejection following the Warriors’ loss Monday, ESPN reported that Green, sitting in a luxury suite at the Coliseum, yelled: “Let’s go. I get a chance to play in another game.” It’s as if he were channeling the very message Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was giving in the locker room about 30 yards away.
“It’s the NBA Finals. You’ve got two great teams, and I kind of like our position,” Kerr said. “… We go back to Cleveland and tee it up again, but I like our position a lot better than theirs. …
“We’re in the same place we were last year: up 3-2 and heading back to Cleveland. If you told me this before the series, I would have taken it. We’re in a good spot.”
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Warriors are hoping for a clearer picture about Bogut’s availability later today:
The status of injured Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut for Thursday’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals remains uncertain, but Bogut did travel Tuesday with the team to Cleveland, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that an official update on Bogut’s health, which had been expected Tuesday night, will most likely come Wednesday now.
Sources say that the Warriors, following a long travel day, continued into the night with their review of the data from an MRI exam on Bogut’s sprained left knee before the team’s departure to Ohio.
There was cautious optimism in the Warriors’ camp late Monday that Bogut did not suffer any structural damage following the hard hit he absorbed in a mid-air collision defending Cleveland guard J.R. Smith’s drive to the basket. But Bogut was seen walking very gingerly as he left the arena Monday night.