Warriors

Bogut still 'bitter' Warriors lost Finals in 73-win season

Warriors
Warriors' Andrew Bogut

Two words perfectly sum up how Andrew Bogut feels about losing the 2016 NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Warriors won an NBA record 73 regular-season games.

"It sucks," Bogut said to The Athletic's Ethan Strauss on the "House of Strauss" podcast, "to an extent, because we couldn't put the cherry on top and no one's gonna really talk about that season being a success even though it was a historic season numbers-wise. Just the way it went down, the circumstances. Give all the credit to Cleveland.

"That's the beauty of a seven-game series, right?"

The Warriors took a three-games-to-one lead over the Cavs and looked well on their way to capping off the greatest season in NBA history. But Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5 for making "unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin" when James stepped over him while Green was on the ground. Everything changed after the league's decision.

Bogut exited Game 5 early in the second half after injuring his knee. He never returned the rest of the series. Steve Kerr was forced to play the more inexperienced Festus Ezeli, and Bogut's loss clearly was a big blow. 

"The momentum can shift two games at a time. They saw the momentum shift slightly with the Draymond suspension, I busted up my knee," Bogut said. "But yeah, the momentum shifted after that."

Bogut was averaging 4.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while playing 13.1 minutes per game the first four games of the series. But his impact went well beyond the box score. He was a seasoned veteran who played solid defense, a real rim protector and also made all the right plays. 

 

He said was on a mission to make an impact, and felt he was doing so against LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs. 

"I felt like I was having a really good Finals series," Bogut said. "I sucked the Finals series before, and this one I was like, 'Look, I'm gonna have a better series,' and defensively I was playing really well. I was just making sure I was floating around that paint and not giving LeBron easy looks at coming in and throwing down dunks and getting power layups.

"I was either blocking his shot, getting there early so he had to kick it or shoot a floater type of shot, or I'd foul the s--t out of him. I felt like at times he was looking for where I was at on the court. And offensively I was doing my job and getting a few lobs and put-backs and that kind of stuff. So I felt like I was playing really well."

RELATED: Bogut credits Steph for Warriors being a close-knit team

Bogut then semi-jokingly wanted to quickly switch subjects. 

"It's a bitter point to this day, so I appreciate not talking about it too much," he said. 

It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring. The Warriors will have the regular-season wins record for a long, long time. Banners are better, though, and Bogut still can't believe they blew their massive lead under the brightest lights.

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