SAN ANTONIO -- Andrew Bogut is on a salvage mission.
The Warriors center considers his regular-season performance a failure, a disaster severe enough for him to start thinking about life beyond basketball. With his surgically repaired left ankle letting him down, he missed 50 games, was limited in plenty of others and was mostly a liability on offense.
His plan: make up for it in the playoffs.
He got off to a great start with his play in the Warriors' first-round upset of Denver. Against San Antonio, the No. 2 seed and a formidable inside team, Bogut's importance to the Warriors increases. He can make everyone forget about his "nightmare" season with a good showing in the second round.
"I'm going to do my best, leave it all on the floor," said Bogut, whose ankle is still giving him problems. "It's a cliché, but that was my goal coming into the playoffs, knowing I had a subpar regular season. I was going to try to get something out of this season by having a successful playoff campaign."
There was plenty of talk at Warriors practice about taking their game to another level. For Bogut, though, it might be too much to ask that he play even better than he did in the first round. He won't elaborate on how he feels, because "everybody's banged up."
"In fairness, he's not 100 percent right now," coach Mark Jackson said. "When he has a live body and he's feeling great, we feel comfortable with what he's doing on the floor. Some nights, or some days, obviously it's more of a challenge."
So the challenge for the Warriors is to get the same Bogut from the first round, only more often.
The Spurs have a future Hall of Famer they can post up in Tim Duncan. They also have two of the game's best penetrators in guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
The Warriors surely will need Bogut's presence.
"Defense is important, and he's our defensive anchor," forward Carl Landry said. "He seemed to get better as games carried on. He really sets the tone for us. Hopefully, it's a carry-over into this series. In the playoffs, anything can happen."
Against the Nuggets, Bogut averaged 8.2 points on 63.2 percent shooting, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 28 minutes. But those numbers don't detail the roller-coaster ride that was the first round.
He was solid in the first three games, when Golden State had two days off in between. But on one day's rest, Bogut flamed out in the second half of Game 4. And in Game 5, after the lone day off was used to travel, Bogut had little to give and spent most of the second half on the bench. He also sprained his ankle and nearly missed Game 6.
After taking anti-inflammatory medication, he was phenomenal in the series clincher: 14 points, 21 rebounds, four blocks.
"If I could get 14 and 20 each game, that would definitely be nice," Bogut said while scratching his Wolverine beard.
The Warriors will have had three days off before Game 1 on Monday. But Games 2 and 3 come after a day of rest, one being a travel day to Oakland. Is there any way Golden State can eliminate Bogut's valleys?
Bogut said the key is getting as much rest as possible between games. Jackson hasn't held full practices in the playoffs, focusing more on strategy and resting.
On the days Bogut can't be himself, Jackson pointed to the Warriors' two other centers -- Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins -- as pivotal.
"That's the reason we have Bogut, we have Festus, we have Biedrins," Jackson said. "We have three 7-footers who are very good defenders we can put on Tim.
"That being said, it doesn't matter who you have. Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan for a reason. It's a tall task to try to defend him and make him work for everything. But we have three guys that we feel as comfortable with as anybody in the league at defending the post and that position."