Originally Published: January 30, 2014

1. Aussie Rules: Bogut Powers Warriors' Win

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The NBA's best rivalry of exciting, formerly awful West teams saw little fire from the losers on Thursday night, as the Golden State Warriors asserted themselves from the beginning, coasting to a 111-92 win over the Chris Paul-deprived Los Angeles Clippers.

The easy win followed an uneasy time for Golden State. A string of recent losses had darkened the mood at the Warriors' HQ.

"It hasn't been a happy place around here the last couple of days," said Warriors center Andrew Bogut. "A lot of guys [were] edgy."

David Lee confirmed, "Coach was upset with us during shootaround. We were upset with each other. It's just frustrating when we know we have the talent and ability in this locker room to be a better basketball team than we are right now, and you saw it out there on the court [Thursday night]."

Whatever frustrations preceded were seemingly taken out on a hapless Clippers team that never led in the contest.

Though the game lacked for the scuffles that have come to define this matchup, it did fit a certain pattern: Bogut again hurt the Clippers. The Golden State center claimed 14 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks on Thursday. Over the three-game season series, Bogut has played well above his season averages, notching 13.7 points and 12.3 boards with 69.2 percent shooting.

Lee
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesDavid Lee and Andrew Bogut provided a formidable one-two punch.

On Golden State's final possession of the first quarter, we were treated to one example of why Bogut has recently deviled Los Angeles. The large, lumbering Australian tugged Hedo Turkoglu's hand as Harrison Barnes whizzed by. The refs caught that one, but the "hand holding" was illustrative of oft-unseen tactics that have frustrated a Clipper team that might be inclined toward frustration. Perhaps the most notable instance of this happened the last time these teams faced, when Bogut managed to get Blake Griffin ejected with a series of shenanigans that were either sly or dirty, depending on your perspective.

On Thursday night, Bogut unleashed his arsenal of sneaky tactics while combining them with a dominant, highly visible performance. His first two field goals were both alley-oop dunks, Golden State's more tame version of "Lob City." Lately, the Warriors have been leveraging the threat of their shooters, using them to free Bogut for thundering lobs.

Stephen Curry explained Golden State's new love of the lob: "I think a lot of times in pin-down situations, you have to pick your poison, obviously. If I have Klay [Thompson] coming off the down screen -- we love that jump shot -- or if they want to take that away, you have counters to everything."

Curry added an efficient 22 points on only 10 field goal attempts, and Lee pitched in with 22 points and 11 boards. It was a fine offensive performance, but the Warriors players preached defense after the game. Golden State had managed to hold Los Angeles to 40 percent shooting through energetic closeouts and stout rim protection.

There was also the matter of just letting Griffin shoot. Though Griffin hit his fair share of shots (he scored 27 points), the strategy benefited the Warriors in other ways.

"Blake shot the ball well tonight, but it worked in our favor because it took him outside a little bit," Bogut said. "So he didn't get to the line as often and put them in the bonus."

David Lee's sold post defense also helped in the effort against Griffin and the overall Clippers attack.

When asked if this is his best defensive season, Lee cracked, "Yeah, but that's not saying a whole lot."

Lee went on to speak of his personal growth on that end, and how it's been aided by the Aussie.

"I'm really working on improving," Lee said. "And it's something I know that's been a weakness in the past. It does help having a healthy Andrew next to me on a consistent basis. We've gotten used to playing alongside one another and me helping him in some of the screening action and him helping me at the rim."

The Warriors might not be as consistent as they would like, but their fourth-ranked defense is formidable most nights. Perhaps they'll reach their goals after getting used to each other a little bit.

Dimes past: Jan. 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29

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