Kanter has seen less than 10 minutes in both of the last two contests, as coach Billy Donovan has prioritized defense above all else from the center spot. While Kanter is a capable rebounder, he's not a rim-protecting presence on the same level of Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka, so expect those latter two players to continue logging the lion's share of the minutes at center over the remainder of the series.
The 22-year-old big man hauled in double-digit boards for the third time in the series, and made the most of his limited opportunties on offense. Adams is not quite the contributor on offense he was in the semifinals versus the Spurs, but he's still managed averages of 10.4 points and 8.8 rebounds over the first five games against the Warriors.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr called out Bogut prior to the game, saying he needed the Aussie center to stay out of foul trouble. Bogut did just that; he didn't pick up his third foul until late in the fourth quarter and contributed series-highs in all the major categories. He protected the rim and helped make the Warriors competitive on the boards where they equaled the Thunder with 45 rebounds. The Warriors, down three games to two, travel to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday.
Valanciunas made his return to action after sitting out the last eight games due to an ankle sprain, and the big man was fairly effective during his limited minutes, most of which came in garbage time. It's unclear how much further Valanciunas will encroach on Bismack Biyombo's court time over the rest of the series, but if the Raptors fall behind again early on in Game 6, coach Dwane Casey could call upon the Lithuanian big man right away to get a more offensive-minded center on the floor.
Bogut, who has been whistled for 13 personal fouls during the first four games of the Western Conference Finals, is averaging just 14 minutes per game. He's picking them up quickly, forcing Kerr to sit him for long stretches. The coach understands the Warriors rebound better when Bogut is out there, so getting more foul-free minutes from Bogut would help the Warriors on the boards and defensively -- areas where Golden State has been weak in the series.
Valanciunas is feeling healthy enough that he'll be available to play Wednesday. However, Bismack Biyombo is expected to remain in the starting lineup and see the majority of the minutes, so any fantasy value Valanciunas may have had remains severely restricted. If the Cavaliers second unit continues to take the small-ball approach, it could be hard to find significant minutes for Valanciunas, but he should at least touch the floor at some point during Wednesday's Game 5.
Olynyk underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Monday after aggravating an existing injury in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. Recovery for Olynyk is said to take in the realm of five months, give or take, before he can resume contact drills. Being that Olynyk underwent surgery on Monday, that will put his tentative return at around the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season in mid-October. Because Olynyk elected to have the offseason surgery, it means that he will not be able to suit up for the Canadian national team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The 24-point margin of victory enabled Mohammed to see the floor for the first time this series. The Thunder typically count on Steven Adams, Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka to handle all the minutes at center, so Mohammed probably won't be needed to play meaningful minutes in the postseason so long as those three options remain healthy.
When asked how close he feels to 100% healthy, the center replied, "Close. I'm ready to go. Percentage wise? I don't know. My ankle doesn't say percentage." Valanciunas hasn't taken the floor the past seven games due to a sprained ankle, including Game 4 on Monday, for which he active and available. If he does play on Wednesday, he is likely to see his minutes restricted playing behind red-hot Bismack Biyombo.
Whether by design, necessity or the lingering effects of an adductor injury he suffered in the previous series against Portland, Bogut hasn't been a big piece of head coach Steve Kerr's attack during the current series. Bogut got wrangled up in foul trouble Tuesday, committing four of them which may be the cause of his limited minutes, but Kerr has been leaning on his small-ball lineup all series long. Bogut's averaging just 14 minutes per game through the first four. Given Golden State's struggles on the boards during this series -- they were outrebounded, 56-40, and gave up 16 offensive boards to the Thunder -- there's a place for Bogut's size.