David Lee Waxes Poetic on his Conditioning; His Role in Andris’ Career Game; and Cake

Here is the pregame transcript from David Lee. He was up beat and elated to be back. But he was either lacking confidence or sandbagging, because he made sure to set the bar low …

How was he flight here?
Not a very fun Thanksgiving or me. Didn’t get a chance to hang out at Monta’s house with the rest of the guys, get some good cooking. But my girl cooked for me in San Francisco. I had two of the days that day. But, at the end of the day, getting ready for it. Looking forward to playing tonight.

How does it feel?
It doesn’t feel great right now but it feels good enough that I can go try to contribute what I can tonight rather than watching it on TV. Its no fun watching us drop games so I want to get in there and contribute what I can, whether that means 35 minutes and I have 20 and 10 or that means 15 minutes and I’m able to just contribute. I won’t know how I feel until I get out there. But I’m willing to sacrifice that for the team. I want to get out and contribute anyway I can.

How is your conditioning?
I’m probably, say, about where I was like preseason, if I had to guess. When I was doing the workouts, I did a lot of fullcourt stuff and things like that. Times that I would normally be winded, I was gassed instead. That’s one of the reasons I’m also coming back tonight rather than waiting is getting that game shape underneath your belt. That’s the only way to kind of get back into game shape is by just playing. We have a tough game tonight. I think I can help us win this one and then get back (home) and we have San Antonio and Phoenix. That Phoenix game is especially going to be a track meet, so I definitely want to get my conditioning in as soon as I can.

Will you be sporting the Barry Bonds elbow guard?
I’m just doing normal arm sleeve. Nothing extravagant. If I get hit real bad on it, it’s going to hurt – whether I have an arm sleeve on it or have it locked up in a vault. So it doesn’t really matter. It’s going to hurt either way. But I’ve been told I can’t further damage it so its just a matter of pain tolerance and that’s something that I’m good at.

How is your range of motion in that elbow?
We’ll see. I didn’t have any problems shooting the ball. I didn’t have any problems going up and dunking or things like that. The one thing that’s going to be tough is kind of wrestling inside. So, you know, good thing I’m not playing against a tough rebounder or anything tonight in Kevin Love. (laughs)I’m playing against a couple of soft guys down low. (laughs) But, no, it’s going to be a challenge for me tonight as well as the conditioning aspect. But, like I said, anything I can come give this team, even if its only playing a few minutes and giving them a boost as far moral is concerned and being an extra body out there – I suspect I’ll be able to give us a little more than that – but either way its better to be in the lineup than sitting at home watching us play on TV. I can’t that anymore.

Did you check your competitiveness like you said you would?
Nah, I mean, its, I, I … Once they cleared me to play, I looked at what the next game was on the schedule and said ‘I’ll be in on that one.’ Hopefully I’m ready. I don’t think I’m taking any dumb chances here. But even if I am, I’ve got to get back and play. It’s something that’s very important to me, to help this team. I gave it all I had to get us to 6-2 and now we’ve slacked a little bit and its time to get it back up there.

How frightening was the whole ordeal?
What’s strange is usually the most injuries you have in basketball are ankle sprains, hitting knee-to-knee, things like that, pulling a hamstring, things like that are all things you can pretty much bank on ‘OK, here’s how much time on this. Here is the treatment for it, and I know this is going to make it better, this will make it worse. But with infection, I just didn’t know. Every time you get hit or something and you have an open womb, doctors say, ‘OK, you know, to make sure it doesn’t infected, let’s clean it out, and everyone kind of rolls their eyes. But man I learned that it’s very real, a very real thing to deal with. I was told a couple of different times that if we didn’t find the right antibiotic they were talking about cutting out my triceps muscle, they were talking about cutting out my forearm. Who knows if I would play ball again? Who knows, if it gets down to  the joint or underneath my muscle, I’m probably missing the hole season and then some. So it’s a scary thing that can go from very minor to very serious in a matter of an hour or two, and that’s what happened on a couple of occasions. I just thank God I was able to get through it. If you look at it, I missed about two and a half weeks and people miss four weeks for rolling an ankle. So, with all that I’ve been through, I’m thankful that I’m back as early as I am and now it’s just a matter of getting back into the swing of things. I’m going to do that starting tonight.

Did you really consider signing with Minny?
I considered it, it just didn’t work out in the end. I had a great meeting with all the front office and I think they’ve got the right attitude right now about moving forward. I think they brought in good chemistry guys. And although the record might not reflect it right now, I think that they’ve made strides forward already this season. I think that they’re a team, because of how young they are, that’s going to get better and better as years go on.

Thoughts on Biedrins’ last outing?
I was really hype for him. I texted him before the game and told him it’s time to get his ass in gear and play some ball. He said ‘No problem. I got ya.’ And he did an unbelievable job. That’s the Andris that I had to play against for a couple of years. You kind of shake your head when you have to go out and play against him because he’s so active, and his length and everything is such a problem. No big deal, stepping up and swishing two free throws last night. I liked that as well. He played great. Whenever he he’s active like that around the basket, he doesn’t need to sit out there and shoot jump shots and add anything to his game. When he can play defense like he did, rebound on both ends and finish inside, he’s as good as anybody. So I’m very proud of him and I’m going to make sure he stays at that level from now on.

Your take on Darko?

I don’t want to say surprised, because he’s got a lot of talent. But I really love Darko as a person. We got along really well when we played in New York. He’s an unbelievable guy and he’s got the potential – kind of like you’re seeing in Beasley right now – he’s got the potential to be an unbelievable player. He just needs to be in the right situation. It looks as though he’s very motivated right now and he’s been playing some great ball. I’m very happy for him because I think he’s a great person and a guy that’s maybe often misunderstood in the league. But I got to know him for a year in New York and he’s awesome.

Why’d you deliver cakes to the team before the road trip?
I have a pretty helpless feeling sometimes when you’re sitting at home and just watching games, and all I can really do is sit there. You can only sit there and cheer and things like that at the games. It’s tough. My whole thing is, you were going to go through good times and bad times this year. But why the Warriors have a chance to be a playoff team this year, why we are much improved is because I think we have the best chemistry of any team in the NBA right now. I say that with very little doubt in my mind. When you’re 6-2, it’s easy to have great chemistry. When its tough to have that chemistry is when you’ve lost three or four in a row, you’re short a couple of people. When there are tough times, it’s tough to do that. So our chemistry hasn’t taken a hit. But I wanted to make sure guys knew that I was still thinking about them and I am still a leader along with Monta on this team, and that I will be back soon. I just wanted to stop by and wish the guys good luck, more than anything.  And I wanted to tell them I was going to do my best to make it here tonight to meet them on the road trip. That’s why I did that, and that’s why I’m going to continue to be a leader whether we lose every game from here on out or win every game from here on out. That’s all that’s important to me is winning. I told you that from the start of the year and its going to continue to be that way.

Did you make them?
No, no. I went to Cold Stone and got them done. I can’t say that I have that level of commitment. Definitely not. I don’t have that level of commitment. I couldn’t have done that. But I went and had them done that morning.

Feel any added pressure with everyone expecting you to com in and save the team?
No. I’m no savior. I’m no savior. What I think I can bring more than anything, especially since I’m at a 100 percent, is making the game easier for other guys by having another threat on the floor. Get Dorell some more open threes, get Monta and Steph some more driving lanes and some more open looks, get Andris another guy helping him on the boards down there. But the biggest thing I’m going to try to bring is just a positive attitude. Everybody gets down from time to time. I think our morale is a little bit down. We just need a little pick-me-up right here and that’s what I’m trying to do. Whether that’s for a couple minutes or for a whole game, we’ll see how it works out.

Marcus Thompson