By Marcus Thompson
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 at 11:06 am in Uncategorized.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said center Andrew Bogut will play tonight at the Rockets.
Bogut will make his fourth appearance since returning from left ankle rehab. As part of his recovery, he will not play games on back-to-back nights. Since the Warriors visit Houston on Monday and Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Jackson had to choose which game his starting center would play.
“At the end of the day, we’re playing good teams,” Jackson said. “We want to put him in position to be able to play, to be able to recover, and and then continue to progress.”
Jackson will have another choice later in the week as the Warriors visit Memphis on Friday and Dallas on Saturday. Jackson said the likelihood is Bogut will play at the Grizzlies.
Why play Bogut at Houston and Memphis? Those are wins the Warriors need the most.
Houston is currently the No. 8 seed, entering tonight’s matchup five games behind the Warriors. A win helps keep one of the league’s rising teams at bay.
Plus, frankly, the Rockets are much more beatable than the Thunder, arguably the league’s best team. It only makes sense for the Warriors to put all their chips in the most winnable game. The Warriors are underdogs at Oklahoma City even with a full roster.
It also makes sense for Bogut to play at Memphis, a potential first-round foe. The Grizzlies have beaten the Warriors twice this season, both times using their size advantage. The Warriors need Bogut to match- up with Memphis.
It would certainly be an emotional boost if the Warriors finally beat the Grizzlies. But it also has ramifications in the standings. When play begins tonight, the Warriors will be a half game behind Memphis for the No. 4 seed in the standings. Since the Grizzlies traded star Rudy Gay, many — including some in the Warriors’ locker room — see them as weaker and ripe to be supplanted in the standings.
The Warriors have already won in Dallas without Bogut back in November. So not having Bogut in the lineup Saturday against the Mavericks (20-28), the only losing opponent on this trip, doesn’t look like such a daunting task.