OAKLAND — The Warriors locked up the No. 6 seed in the NBA Western Conference playoffs Monday night at Oracle arena, claiming the position with a 130-120 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. But their chances of surviving a first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers took a hit earlier in the day, when team doctors confirmed what an X-ray had told the Warriors on Sunday night: Andrew Bogut has a broken rib and is out indefinitely.
The intimidating center fractured the rib when he collided with Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge in Golden State's overtime loss on Sunday.
“No-excuse basketball team. Next man stand up,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said before the game, referring to Bogut's injury. “We prepare for this all season long, gonna be a great opportunity for other guys. So we move forward, and other guys are expected to step in and fulfill roles.”
The Warriors used a 7-0 run in the final 2:30 to finally pull away from the dogged Timberwolves on Monday, five of those points coming from Stephen Curry, who continued his torrid scoring spree by pumping in 32 against Minnesota.
In some ways, the Warriors didn't seem to miss Bogut a whole lot. Normally a poor rebounding team, they held their won against Minnesota, even without their leading big man. They outrebounded Minnesota 51-42, and scored more points in the paint. On the other hand, Golden State's interior defense was feeble at times. Light-scoring center Gorgui Dieng wound up with 14 points, and many of Corey Brewer's 22 points came on slams.
Another possible ramification of Bogut's absence: Without his presence in the paint, several Warriors found themselves in foul trouble. David Lee picked up his fifth with 3:10 to play, and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green both had four at that point.
The playoffs will be a different matter altogether. The Clippers have one of the best centers in the game in DeAndre Jordan.
After falling behind 16-2 right out of the gate and trailing by as much as 19 points in the second quarter, the Warriors stormed back to make it a game behind the red-hot shooting of Curry.