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COHN: Warriors must defend the dish

  • San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker (9) looks to pass away from Golden State Warriors' Jarrett on Feb. 22, 2013, in Oakland. Parker averaged 7.6 assists this season.

Would someone please explain why that trade — Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut — was no good for the Warriors?

We used to hear that all the time, how Ellis was the heart and soul of the Warriors and how Bogut was damaged goods and might never play enough, and how that dumb trade was the Warriors' trademark.

We don't hear that anymore. Monta Ellis — we wish him well — is a nice little player. But Andrew Bogut is a dynamite big player — a giant — and the Warriors have coveted a big, mean, athletic center like Bogut since the Nate Thurmond days. Bogut can rebound, block shots and the man can score.

Keep all that in mind as the Warriors prepare to play the Spurs in San Antonio tonight in the first game of their second-round playoff series. The mere Bogutness of Bogut means the Warriors match the size of the Spurs. They may be bigger than the Spurs in an overall sense, even though the Spurs have center Tim Duncan, one of the greatest players who ever lived and, at his advanced age of 37, is still better than Bogut.

But here's the kicker. Have you noticed in life there's always a kicker? Although the Warriors match up against the Spurs' “bigs,” they don't match up against the Spurs' “smalls.”

Why?

Because the Spurs' smalls are bigger than the Warriors' smalls.

This is getting entirely too complicated.

Let's try again.

San Antonio has a legion of tall, athletic guards/small forwards, and the Warriors may struggle to contain them. They are: Manu Ginobili 6-6, Danny Green 6-6, Kawhi Leonard 6-7, Gary Neal 6-4. That doesn't even count Tony Parker, a shrimp at 6-2 and a sure Hall of Famer.

So, what's the point?

Think back to the Denver series. Nuggets' point guard Ty Lawson would drive the lane, attract two or three defenders, and because he is clever, he would kick the ball out to a shooter. And the shooter would miss.

It won't be that easy against San Antonio. Parker will drive the lane, attract two or three defenders, and because he is clever, he will kick the ball out to a shooter like Ginobili and Ginobili won't miss — most of the time.

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