Aussies in NBA Finals: Warriors wreck Cavs, Bogut hosts block party
With crucial contributions from forward Draymond Green and Australian center Andrew Bogut, the Golden State Warriors thrashed the Cleveland Cavaliers by 33 points to take a 2-0 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Bogut finished with five blocks, including 4 in the first quarter. His block party might have gone on a literal rampage, had nature not intervened:
Bogut had a swat that led to a three from two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry, who had 19 points and nine rebounds in only 25 minutes of action.
After the game ended, Bogut sat down with NBA TV for a quick interview. TNT analyst Kenny Smith called Bogut the team's defensive tone setter, and the center agreed on his role as the defensive anchor.
"Yeah, no doubt I’ve got to protect the basket," Bogut said. "If I’m not protecting that basket, I’m not imposing myself in the paint --especially defensively-- I’m usually coming out of the game pretty quickly."
"I’ve been on teams in Milwaukee were I was the go-to guy offensively, I was getting 10-15 shots a game and now I’ve figured out how to be a guy who contributes on a team of great shooters and great offensive players and that’s defensively. I don’t mind doing that at this point of my career, got a ring out of last season, hopefully get another one this season."
Bogut also had six rebounds and two steals in just 15 minutes of action, having been rested for much of the game due his team's dominance. His immovable screens, running of the floor to defend the fast break, box outs and offensive rebounding (three for the game) shows that the 7 footer from Melbourne is a model team-oriented player for any young big man to watch.
The Golden State big man nearly made NBA history tonight as well; he is also the only other player outside of Alonzo Mourning to record five blocks in an NBA Finals game, in less than 20 minutes (h/t Littlestat3 on r/nba).
The Warriors' defense was superb, forcing the Cavs into 17 turnovers, 35% on field goals and 22% from three. Cleveland's top 3 players of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving combined for just 34 points on 14-38 from the floor.
Love (five points, three rebounds in 21 minutes) left the game early in the third quarter after receiving an accidental elbow to the head from Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (who had five points and rebounds respectively). He has been diagnosed with a concussion that might keep him from Game 3 in Cleveland in three days' time.
Matthew Dellavedova played just under 17 minutes with the Cavaliers, most of which were in garbage time. Delly had only seven points on a poor 2-9 shooting, but made a better impact compared to fellow point guard Kyrie Irving (10 points on 5-14 shooting), as evidenced by his +/- rating.
Check out this assist from Dellavedova to James for the jam:
There's no doubt Australia's watching the NBA Finals closely, and that certainly includes Bogut's kindred.
"A lot of friends and family are watching," Bogut commented post-game. "Thankfully good ol’ NBA has got some games on TV now in Australia. A lot of texts and phones [are] blowing up after games and everyone supporting us back home, so we really appreciate it."
The series moves on to Cleveland, where the Cavs will try to turn the series around after being defeated by 48 points total in the first two games, an NBA record differential for that span. Only three teams in NBA history have won the Finals after losing the first two games.
Andrew Bogut/Matthew Dellavedova full highlights