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Bogut returns for Warriors in win over Raptors

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Center Andrew Bogut made his presence felt right from the start in his first game for the Golden State Warriors since November.

He scored the first two points of the game and nearly two minutes later put a punctuation mark on his return with a dunk.

"It's always fun to make an easy bucket," Bogut said. "I threw one down. It was nice."

Bogut, who has been troubled by a left ankle that required off-season surgery, scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 24 minutes as the Warriors defeated the Toronto Raptors 114-102 on Monday night before a crowd of 15,914 at Air Canada Centre.

"You can tell we're a different basketball team when he's on the floor," Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said. "He was great. He's a weapon on the offensive end, the ability to pass, the ability to defend, rebound, block shots, and he can also make plays. It's great to have him.

"It makes me a better coach. He makes guys better. He completes us as a team."

Bogut had plenty of help. Forward David Lee had 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Warriors, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Klay Thompson added 19 points for Golden State and Stephen Curry had 17 before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Harrison Barnes and reserve guard Jarrett Jack added 14, and Carl Landry scored 12 points after coming off the bench.

Aaron Gray, who got the start with Bogut returning to the Golden State lineup, scored a career-best 22 points and had a season-best 10 rebounds for the Raptors. It was the eighth double-double of his career.

DeMar DeRozan had 21 points, Ed Davis added 12, and Alan Anderson, Jose Calderon and Terrence Ross each scored 11.

"I thought we had it going right until the fourth quarter," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. "Our small lineup usually is pretty good. But their small lineup is also pretty good.

"They play fast. We wanted to come down and execute but we did not execute at the beginning of the fourth quarter. That was the ballgame. That was the turning point."

Raptors starter Landry Fields was limited to 13 minutes and did not play in the second half because of flu symptoms. Amir Johnson couldn't play the last couple of minutes of the game after bumping his head.

Bogut said it felt good to be finally back in a game.

"Definitely," he said. "It's been a long season for me so far, frustrating mentally and physically. It's exciting to be back out there playing basketball again. It's been a bumpy ride but I think it is at a stage now where I am ready to progress."

As far his conditioning goes, he said, "I didn't feel too bad. I've been on a treadmill, but it's very hard to simulate on-court conditions between the nervousness and the fans. When the lights come on it's a little different."

"He is a great player," Gray said of Bogut. "He is going to work his way back and it makes them that much better with shooters like Curry and Klay Thompson. They have a great point guard with Jarrett Jack coming off the bench. They have great post players with all three -- Bogut, Carl Landry and David Lee. There are a lot of things you are forced to stop on each play."

Jackson said he would know more Tuesday about Curry's injury.

"We're going to be smart," Jackson said. "There was no need to put him back in there; make sure he's healthy. He wanted to get back in the game."

The Warriors (27-17) took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and had the lead up to nine when Barnes made a reverse layup with 6:12 to play.

Then Bogut put in a layup after a Toronto miss. Ross got Toronto (16-29) a little closer with five points, but Thompson hit a 3-pointer and the Warriors led by 11 again with 2:25 to play and took a 12-point lead into in the final minute.

The score was tied going into the second half, but the Warriors took a 66-59 lead with 7:51 to play in the third quarter on consecutive 3-pointers by Thompson and Curry. Curry then put the Warriors up by nine on a driving layup after a Raptors turnover.

The lead reached 10 before the Raptors cut it to two when DeRozan made one of two free throws with 3:53 to play in the quarter, tied it after a Warriors turnover, and after Golden State was called for traveling took the lead on a 22-foot jumper by DeRozan.

But five late points by Jack had the Warriors back in the lead, and they led 84-82 after Calderon ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer.

The Raptors led 28-25 after the first quarter with Gray scoring 10 points, already a season best. His previous high this season was seven. Gray had 14 by halftime -- five from equaling his career high -- and Lee led the Warriors with 15 in the first half that ended 52-52.

NOTES: Bogut had missed the previous 39 games. He played the first four games of the season before the ankle injury sidelined him again. It was his first game since Nov. 7. "We're not going to rush him or let him rush himself, it's too important," Jackson said before the game and added that he would "be smart about" his playing time. ... Jackson started 54 games for Toronto in 2000-01. ... Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who has been experiencing back spasms, was listed as a game-time decision and did not dress for the game. ... Monday's game ended the Raptors' busiest month of the season for home dates with 10. ... Jack appeared in 95 games for the Raptors over two seasons (2009-201l). ... Dell Curry, who played three seasons for the Raptors (1999-2002), is the father of Warriors guard Stephen Curry. ...The Warriors play the Cavaliers at Cleveland on Tuesday. ...The Raptors visit Atlanta to play the Hawks on Wednesday.
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