The All-Star break could not have come at a better time for the Golden State Warriors, as the team that had been the surprise of the NBA for much of the first half of the season suddenly crumbled and lost five consecutive games.
The break in the season gives the team a chance to slow down and try to figure out exactly what it was that went wrong in those last five games.
Fatigue could be a factor in that losing streak, with games being played so close together and on the road, no less. The break gave the team a chance to catch its breath, if that's what it needed.
But there is something else about the All-Star break that is pivotal for the Warriors and the remainder of the season.
Andrew Bogut has been playing on a minutes restriction, if at all, for the entire first half of the season, and the All-Star break had been declared the time when his restrictions were to be reconsidered. In addition to the minutes restriction, Bogut has also been kept out of playing games on back-to-back nights.
The Warriors were expected to be better than they were last year, but the success that they have had this year surprised many.
Now in the thick of the playoff race (currently the sixth seed in the conference), the Warriors will need their true center more than they ever have since acquiring him last year.
If Bogut is cleared to play full time without restrictions, then look for the Warriors to stop this losing streak dead in its tracks and remind the basketball world that they are a true playoff contender.
If Bogut is not cleared from the restrictions, it would be seen as a setback because of how much time he has already missed and he would then need even more time to rehab.
Either way, the key to the Warriors' success beyond the regular season rides on the shaky ankle of their Australian center.