Warriors must find a way to win without Lee

The Western Conference first round playoff series between the Denver Nuggets the No. 3 seed and the Golden State Warriors the No. 6 seed has taken on a new outlook after Golden State lost its No.2 scorer and No. 1 rebounder David Lee to a torn hip flexor.

Lee tore his hip flexor in the first game of the series, which was won by Denver 97-95. Golden State Head Coach Mark Jackson summed it up quite simply by saying it is unfortunate that the injury happened especially for such a hard working player who helped us to reach where we are today, but the NBA season goes on so the team has to as well.

Lee missed over 1,000 minutes during the regular season and Golden State was not the same team without him. The Warriors were outscored per 48 minutes by five points and the team’s offense was noticeably shorthanded without Lee on the court.

Prior to Sunday’s practice, Lee said he heard his hip flexor tear when it made a popping sound. He said he tried to run back to play defense but had lost sensation in his leg. Lee said the pain was bearable but he did not have any feeling in the leg.

Doctors told Lee he most likely would not need surgery only a few months of rehab and rest. Lee is hoping that by midsummer he is 100%.

However, those prospects of a full recovery do not help the Warriors now and they will be without one of their top offensive and defense players. Lee recorded more double doubles that any other NBA player this season with 56. He was averaging 18.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and over three assists per game.

Jackson knows Lee cannot be replaced and the team must recognize and accept that. He is an All Star player who had a very good season, said Jackson. Jackson said the team would use other players to hide the absence of Lee, but knows they cannot replace him.

The Warriors will look to Carl Landry to play a number of minutes more with other players such as Andris Biedrins, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green also entering into the equation. The Warriors could also play a smaller lineup with more guards at times.

The Warriors might play Harrison Barnes more, which would work into the idea that Jackson, might use a smaller lineup. With Barnes replacing Lee, the team would have four potential three-point shooters on the court at the same time. That would help stretch opponents defense, in this case, Denver’s and help Barnes who is explosive and could open him up for easy baskets.

Barnes would have to play while Bogut is on the court. Bogut’s shot blocking prowess would compensate for having a small forward like Barnes in the lineup.

Game two is Tuesday night and Jackson has little time to make changes and if the Warriors lose on Tuesday they will return home down 2-0 and the Nuggets nation will start dropping rumors about a potential sweep of the series in four games.

  • 100%