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OAKLAND -- This column is about Andrew Bogut. But first a statement to you, the jurors.

It is hard to see the Denver Nuggets winning this playoff series, now that they're down three games to one, now that they lost Game 4 115-101. It is easy to see the Golden State Warriors winning this series.

Sure, strange things can happen, and they often do. If this series goes to seven games, two of the final three take place in Denver, and teams have trouble running around a mile above sea level, and the Nuggets are specialists at thriving in the rarified air.

It's just that the Warriors seem so much better than the Nuggets. Denver played from behind most of Game 4, trying to catch up. They played desperation basketball and that only made them more desperate.

And Stephen Curry just killed the Nuggets, scoring 24 points in the second half, 19 in the final 4:22 of the third quarter, showing yet again he's the best shooter in the NBA.

Afterward, someone told Warriors coach Mark Jackson that Magic Johnson said of Curry, "We've seen the birth of a superstar in this league."

Jackson waited a long time before responding. He finally said, "Those guys are just coming to the hospital. The baby has been born already."

He meant, when it comes to Curry, Magic Johnson is a Johnny Come Lately, considering Curry has been doing this all season. Thanks, but no thanks, Magic.

So, here's what we want to know. The Warriors have Curry to score a million points. Whom do the Nuggets have and where does their scoring come from?

Aside from guard Ty Lawson — a legit star — all the other Nuggets are supporting players, nice, eager young men you'd like coming off the bench to give the really good guys a blow. But there are no really good guys.

Danilo Gallinari, Denver's other big scorer, tore his ACL and isn't playing. And the Nuggets are left with players like center/forward Kenneth Faried about whom everyone made such a fuss before this series. Would he play or wouldn't he? Well, he's playing, and when you check his stats, really look at them, he averaged only 11.5 points in the regular season. He is OK but he is not a difference maker.

So, who can score for these guys?

Old guard Andre Miller is slow and makes mistakes, and doesn't even shoot a jumper. He's from some prehistoric basketball era. He beat the Warriors almost by himself in Game 1, played out of his skull, but in real life, he's only a 9.6 scorer. So he's been overachieving out of necessity. And have you noticed he's a dead ringer for Richard Pryor? Maybe he has a future as a standup comic, because it sure doesn't seem he's going to be in the playoffs much longer.

Denver coach George Karl, a crafty old warrior — considering he used to coach the Warriors — used every possible combination in Game 4. He went big and he went small and he went somewhere in between. And he got zero results.

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And now we come to Bogut.

Remember him? He's the center the Warriors got last season, the guy who had that big boot on his bum foot. The Warriors paid him big money for future returns despite Bogut being a big-boot-foot guy.

The returns have been a long time in returning. But they are beginning to return in the playoffs. It's been a while since fans around here have seen good center play from a Warrior. And by good center play we are talking about blocking shots, grabbing tough rebounds and generally being a tough guy.

Bogut is part center, part enforcer. He has that snarl on his face. The Warriors needed someone who is hard as opposed to soft, stern as opposed to amiable. He and Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry have changed the Warriors' personality from all-around pleasant fellows — cheerful losers, darned good sports — to serious foes.

In the first quarter, Bogut blocked a shot from Andre Iguodala four feet from the hoop. Gored the heart right out of Denver. Place went nuts. Then Bogut jammed in a dunk off a miss, the backboard doing that jelly shake. Place went nuts. Then Denver center JaVale Mcgee came in and Bogut slam-dunked in his face. Place went nuts.

Bogut walked to the bench with 4:59 left in the first quarter. He waved his fist at the crowd — fist big as the head of a shovel. Place went nuts. In the second quarter, Bogut got the ball and backed into Nuggets' center Kosta Koufos and knocked him down. Lying on his back like a fighter taking the count, Koufos watched Bogut jam the ball through the hoop. Backboard did the jelly shake. Place went nuts.

Afterward, Warriors coach Mark Jackson talked about Bogut: "He was off the charts, making plays out of double teams, setting great screens, rebounding the basketball, playing physical. I thought he was key to keeping us in the ballgame and setting the tone. That's why they pay him the big bucks."

Asked about Bogut's dunk over McGee, Jackson said, "He realized it was do or die. We needed him to be special. He's been mean, nasty, he's played with an edge. When he dunked on McGee, he probably remembered when McGee dunked on him (in Game 1). We're watching a guy who has a live body, doing what he wants it to do."

It is hard to see Denver winning the series with Bogut enforcing and Curry scoring. Denver would have to win three in a row against this hungry, lethal, confident Warriors team. And that would be most strange, passing strange indeed.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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