When rookie forward Harrison Barnes drove the lane and dunked it backwards over Nuggets forward Anthony Randolph, Golden State’s bench went crazy in celebration. Warriors forward David Lee, on the bench in a blazer, wanted to join them. But with his torn right hip flexor, which has knocked him out for the rest of the playoffs, he had to be very careful with his celebration.
LEE: “I had to wait an extra second to stand up. I had to let the traffic clear out, then I stood up and cheered.”
It’s killing Lee to not be out there. But he said it didn’t bother him at all watching the performance his teammates put together in Tuesday’s improbable win at Denver, the Nuggets first home loss in more than four months.
Many thought the Warriors’ were toast after losing the NBA’s leader in 20-and-10 games. But, collectively, the Warriors did more than pick up the slack. They racked up 131
137 points on 64.6 percent shooting.
LEE: “I wish I could’ve been out there. But watching these guys tonight, the way they shot the ball, it was really incredible. It was our best shooting performance of the year.”
Lee has been an active participant despite not being able to play. He’s been to every practice and every meeting. He was vocal on the sidelines Tuesday. Coach Mark Jackson said he looked and saw Lee in the coach’s huddle.
LEE: “I wanted to hear what they’re always talking about. They’re always over there plotting against us. But I had to go in there and hear for myself.”
Lee said being around his teammates keeps him positive and gives him something to do. He said the only times he’s been upset and down about his season-ending injury is when he’s been alone and has time to think about it.
But Lee was all smiles in the locker room after the game. He said it meant a lot for them to rally around him like that.
LEE: “It’s a great feeling. I came here tonight ready to cheer the guys on. Steph and those guys told me they had my back before the game. To see them go out there and play the way they did shows a lot of pride. I think we took a big step here tonight.”