THE WARRIORS HAVE a problem. If you watched their blowout losses at San Antonio and Houston ... well, you didn't see it.

If, on the other hand, you witnessed their two previous defeats — stumble-from-ahead home disappointments against Eastern Conference also-rans — this serious deficiency should be obvious.

The Warriors are the Armando Benitez of the NBA. They simply cannot be trusted to close out games.

Short of being an elite team that catches the Warriors on a road back-to-back without Jason Richardson, the formula to beating Don Nelson's latest edition is the same on every scouting report: Keep it close for 31/2 quarters, then outplay them down the stretch once the game slows down.

There are no in-house solutions to this problem. Nor are there many out there leaguewide.

But there is one that's becoming more and more available by the day: Allen Iverson.

The Warriors need this guy. And here's the best part: The 76ers don't.

Philadelphia took the court in Chicago on Wednesday night as the last-place team in the Atlantic Division. That equates to being fifth in the National League West and fourth in the NFC West — the three most embarrassing residences in American sports.

Sixers general manager Billy King will be fired if this keeps up, and his only course of action (short of finding a taker for Chris Webber, who's even less desirable these days than Barry Bonds) is to sell Iverson to the highest bidder.

The Warriors can be that team.


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A package of Baron Davis and Ike Diogu would match Iverson's contract, but the 76ers might want more.

I'd let them exchange Troy Murphy for Diogu, but that would require the 76ers throwing in a second player for salary-cap purposes. Heck, take both Murphy and Diogu, as long as the Warriors get back the expiring contract of injured Jamal Mashburn.

Iverson is a nice fit between Monta Ellis and Richardson, and the ideal solution to a seemingly incurable problem.

Hiring Nelson was a bold move. Now it's time to make another.

DATELINE: Spanning the bridge. A's and F's at the winter meetings:

-Here's another reason to like the A's acquisition of Mike Piazza: It makes Adam Melhuse a player again. He goes from an emergency catcher to a guy who should become more multitasking because Piazza is available should something happen to Jason Kendall. For $8.5 million, the A's get two players: Piazza and Melhuse.

-Why does a team with the worst everyday lineup in baseball, no left fielder, an intriguing starting staff and no reliable closer want to spend basically all its remaining funds on Barry Zito? This was the year Brian Sabean was supposed to start thinking long-term — and a potential rotation of Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum and Noah Lowry (with Matt Morris until the trade deadline) bodes well for the future. Meanwhile, signing Zito means no Bonds and ... hello, Mr. Benitez.

DATELINE: At a neutral site. I like the BCS, but like everyone, I find myself searching for a better system. In doing so, I ask: What would have been the ideal finish to the current season?

With Ohio State certainly deserving of a shot at the title, two teams running in virtually a dead heat for No.2 and a big dropoff to the fourth-best club, the answer seems pretty obvious:

Schedule Michigan vs. Florida at Papa John's Stadium in Louisville this weekend, with the winner earning a shot at Ohio State next month in Glendale while the loser falls back into the Rose or Sugar Bowl picture.

Yes, a three-team playoff. I mean, why invite a fourth when none is worthy?

Next year there might be. Then again, like last season, perhaps a top two will be easily identifiable.

Clearly, the best system is one that's flexible to the way the season plays out.

I propose: Have a BCS selection committee meet the day after the regular season and, using Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings only, choose the proper path to a title game. It would always give you the best solution.

It sure beats trying to divide four by three and getting one as the answer.

Should the Warriors sell the farm to get Allen Iverson? E-mail your thoughts (with full name and your city) to dave@angnewspapers.com.