Spurs blitz Warriors with all-around game - SF Chronicle

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» Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:20 am
Texas hold 'em
Spurs blitz Warriors with all-around game

Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, November 24, 2005

San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, right, of Argentina, is... San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker (9), of France, drives pas... San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan (21) shoots a one-handed ju...

What better level to aspire to than the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA's reigning champions, because they do it all. The Spurs play halfcourt and fullcourt, shoot inside and outside, post up and put up.

The Warriors, at least on Wednesday, could do none of those. Their 113-89 spanking was decided so early, their mismatch with the Spurs so flagrant, the most interesting moment came way back in the first quarter, when Ike Diogu made his NBA debut.

Diogu, the Warriors' No. 1 pick and ninth overall, was given a partial standing ovation when he checked in with 3:52 remaining in the opening period. Fifteen seconds later, the Spurs gave Diogu the typical rookie welcome.

San Antonio immediately went after him, with Bruce Bowen feeding Nazr Mohammed inside and Mohammed hitting a 7-foot jumper over Diogu's outstretched arms.

But Diogu, who roamed in and out of the post as the Warriors' center alongside power forward Troy Murphy, responded with a 12-foot jumper off an assist from Jason Richardson. He finished with 11 points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.

"I thought you saw glimpses of what Ike can do," Warriors coach Mike Montgomery said. "He's clearly not going to be sure of himself, where he should be. But he went up and made a couple of plays."

Montgomery had predicted before the game that Diogu would "do some interesting things, for sure." The coach simplified the offense when Diogu was in the game, particularly in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors went small and Diogu was instructed just to roll toward the basket.

If the rookie found himself lost on a play, Montgomery armed him with this advice: "When in doubt, go post up -- there's usually not a crowd in there."

The guidance emphasized the biggest difference between the Warriors and Spurs on Wednesday. San Antonio has the ultimate low-post player and perimeter threat in Tim Duncan, who commands so much attention from opposing defenses that the court turns into a playground for guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Parker led the Spurs with 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field, while Ginobili had 14 points. Duncan added 19 points and 12 rebounds. The trio simply shredded the Warriors' defense, scoring eight of their first 10 baskets on layups or put-backs.

The Spurs outrebounded Golden State 9-1 to start the game, held a 33-11 advantage at the half and finished with a 52-27 edge. They also outscored the Warriors 60-36 in the paint.

It's there that Diogu figures to be the most help, and in the fourth quarter, he showed some nifty moves inside. He went up-and-under to complete a three-point play against Mohammed, and Mike Dunleavy later hit a cutting Diogu for another layup.

"It was alright," Diogu said afterward. "I messed up a lot of plays on the offensive end and on the defensive end. ... First game, I got a few of the jitters out. Gotta move onto the next game."

The Warriors have posted guards Richardson and Baron Davis in an attempt to create mismatches and draw double-teams, and Murphy has tried to extend his game inside with mixed success.

In the first quarter Murphy took Rasho Nesterovic off the dribble for a driving layup and three-point play. On a similar move in the second quarter, he was stuffed by Duncan, who blocked Murphy's shot attempt, rebounded the ball and started a fastbreak all in one motion.

"What we don't have is a dominant low-post center -- like say, San Antonio with Duncan -- where they can go down there and play off him and run a lot of different things to roll in the low post," Montgomery said. "It's not our strongest point, but we've made some progress."

And to that end, Diogu, who won Pac-10 Player of the Year honors as a junior, gave the crowd of 18,768 at the Arena in Oakland the biggest reason to stick around for the fourth quarter.

If you can't compete in the present, might as well look to the future.

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