Andrew Bogut didn't have an insanely productive return to action for the Golden State Warriors, but the former No. 1 pick looked spry and played a season-high 30 minutes against the Toronto Raptors Monday night, with his presence helping in a game that snapped a losing streak.
The Warriors' losing streak not-so-coincidentally matches up with Bogut being out: he had missed six games and the Warriors had lost four in a row. He had four points - both coming on dunks, one a relatively emphatic alley-oop from Steph Curry and eight rebounds. The dunks are a good sign: Bogut told reporters after the game that he had been reduced to crawling to his car when going to the doctor on Feb. 21 to deal with a protruding disk in his back.
However, now he's back. As Golden State of Mind notes, he was slated to come back on Wednesday, but agreed with coach Mark Jackson that he felt pain-free enough to go Monday night. They liked what they saw in their postgame recap, complimenting his passing, especially a behind-the-back look that allowed Harrison Barnes to draw a foul.
Jackson spoke enthusiastically about Bogut, specifically the alley-oop finish:
''There are going to be plays like that where, individually for him, his mind is going to be, 'I'm close to being back,''' Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. ''For our guys, it was a 'wow' moment. Because we haven't seen it. Because we're expecting it. We know who he is. We know what he's capable of doing. For him to make a play like that, it was refreshing.''
Bogut has only played 13 games for Golden State after being traded for Monta Ellis last season. They're 7-6 in those games, but it's reasonable to expect better out of Bogut as he becomes more comfortable. Before last season, he had averaged a double-double in back-to-back years. With him and David Lee, the team has a serious front court, and Bogut provides the defense Lee can't. For now, they just need to hold on for the playoffs: they sit in the sixth seed after having fallen to just .5 games ahead of the 8th-seeded Jazz. After Monday night's win, they're 3.5 clear of the Lakers, who sit in ninth place.