Andrew Bogut: Ignoring the Rockets' mind games - and Klay Thompson's tough side

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Andrew Bogut writes exclusively for Yahoo Sport Australia about the refereeing controversy in Game One and the lengths an injured Klay Thompson went to play against the Rockets.

We don't sit in the locker room listening to our opposition do their media interviews, but we did hear James Harden's point of view on the refereeing.

If you're a fan of the Warriors and you watch the replay you'll think the Warriors got screwed with foul calls, and if you're a Rockets fan you'll think the same for the Rockets.

Both teams felt like they got the rough end of the stick – us included.

That's just the way professional sport goes.

James is a guy who draws a lot of fouls and gets to the free-throw line a lot. They missed a few on him but they also called a few that weren't fouls.

It goes both ways.

We don't really pay attention to the mind games they're getting up to, like bringing up refereeing decisions from a year ago and flying into the Bay Area before our series with the Clippers was even over.

If they want to do that, that’s great.

We're more focused on studying for Game 2 and how we can continue to beat the Rockets, hopefully a few more times in this series.

Stephen Curry reacts to a tough call against James Harden's Rockets. Pic: AAP
Steph Curry reacts to a tough call against James Harden's Rockets. Pic: AAP

The all-important team meeting

Our win over Houston in Game 1 was just a typical playoff game – you have to grind it out. There were ebbs and flows throughout the game, we sustained their punch but they just wouldn't go away.

It ended up coming down to the final couple of minutes, but we didn't play as well as we would have liked. We turned the ball over a little bit too much and fouled a little bit too much. But to get that win after a performance that we saw we can really improve on is a good night.

We addressed our carelessness with the ball at practice this morning. We were too loose with our passes but they also got a couple of deflections.

It was just one of those things where we've got to make sure we come out with the right mindset.

How we cope with James Harden

Games just bog down in the playoffs. Things really come to a grind in half-court possession.

If you're fortunate enough to be a team with guys who can get you a bucket whenever – the Rockets do with James, we do with Kevin Durant – you obviously go to them.

Andrew Bogut clashes with Clint Capela in the Warriors' Game 1 win. Pic: Getty
Andrew Bogut clashes with Clint Capela in the Warriors' Game 1 win. Pic: Getty

Teams like us and Houston who move the ball so well and have a free-flowing offence, in playoffs and finals time it really does grind out so it's a luxury to have those guys.

I wouldn't say we're trying to let James shoot jumpers and no one else. We're trying to stick to our defensive principles.

There's going to be games where he finds his stride and gets hot. We've just got to make sure it doesn't happen for four quarters.

They do have a bunch of weapons who can step up on any given night but it starts and ends with James, so if we can keep him shooting at the percentages he shot last game we'll be in pretty good shape.

Eric Gordon had some wide-open shots early in the game where we made a few mistakes defensively and we got lucky that they went in and out. They could've easily gone down and it would've been a different ball game.

His opportunities are much more limited so we know when he gets the ball he's going to be very, very aggressive.

We know they start and end with James Harden – first and foremost we make him work for everything. He could still have 40 or 50 points but we're going to make him work for it.

James Harden battled with Klay Thompson all night. Pic: AAP
James Harden battled with Klay Thompson all night. Pic: AAP

The tough side of Klay the fans don’t see

Klay was struggling before Game 1, his ankle was not great. Steph Curry's wasn't as bad but Klay's was obviously a little bit more serious.

Something people don’t know about him is the lengths he goes to just to make sure he’s always available to play.

He prides himself on not missing games so he did all the rehab that night and even some exercises on the plane to get the swelling down.

He actually came in early the next morning, which for Klay is very early because he's not a morning guy.

We had a 12.30pm start and he was here before everybody so that was a sight to behold.

He made sure he got his treatment and rehab in, and he actually played really well considering the previous 24 hours.

Unheralded superstars are key

Al Horford and Draymond Green are prime examples of players who impact the game in a lot of different ways. That's why a lot of the teams still playing at this end of the season have those special players.

Your average fans, or people who just play fantasy or follow the stat sheet, don't know their work but they're almost as valuable as a superstar player, like a James Harden or a Steph Curry.

They do things that don't show up on the stat sheet. For us, Draymond's one of them. For Boston, Al just does a lot of good things.

He's a very solid defender for them, a phenomenal passer for a big guy and he's actually shooting threes at times at a decent clip so they have the right balance.

We'll continue to face players like that every round. The closer and closer you get to the Finals, the more and more of those players teams have.

Ben Simmons won’t stay down

People forget that Ben Simmons is very, very young in this league. He hasn't got a whole lot of NBA basketball under his belt and he's still putting up mind-boggling numbers at times.

You have ups and downs in the playoffs but whenever he's had a bad game or two, Philadelphia have made adjustments and he's bounced back.

Ben has already figured out a way of how to sustain a bad game and go into another game, and actually make a huge difference.

He's also one of those rare guys who puts up big numbers, and does a lot of things that don't necessarily show up on the stat sheet.

The headlines are constantly about him not shooting jumpers but there are a lot of things he does as a 6'10, 6'11 guy that help that team win.

He's a team player, he's not a guy you kind of look at and say 'hey, he needs 35 points to win'. A balanced game of 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists – and the 76ers usually win.

Andrew Bogut writes exclusively for Yahoo Sport Australia in a series of weekly insights into the NBA Playoffs.
Andrew Bogut writes exclusively for Yahoo Sport Australia in a series of weekly insights into the NBA Playoffs.
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