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Warriors Need Carl Landry to Get Buckets Inside

Warriors coach Mark Jackson still won’t say who will start in place of injured forward David Lee. No matter whom Jackson taps, veteran Carl Landry will play a significant role in Game 2 on Tuesday.

That isn’t the worst fall-back plan. Landry, in his fourth playoffs, represents one of Golden State’s most experienced players.

“I’m not David Lee. I’m not an All-star. I don’t average 20 points and I don’t average 12 rebounds per game. But I can pick up some of the weight that was lost.”

Landry proved to be a coup for Warriors management. General manager Bob Myers pulled off the improbable signing late in the summer, inking Landry to a two-year deal worth $8 million (with a player option for next season). But Landry can etch himself and Myers into Warriors’ lore with a big performance in place of Lee.

Such is even more likely if Landry gets back to the inside game that helped lead the Warriors into the playoffs.

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David Lee Out For Rest of Playoffs

Warriors All-Star forward David Lee is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a torn right hip flexor.
MRI taken Monday confirms he sustained a Grade 3 tear, which requires months to heal. The Warriors will be sending out official word shortly
Ken Berger of CBS Sports was first to report.

The injury happened at the 11:34 mark of the fourth quarter. He drove down the right side of the key for a layup and was fouled in mid-air by Nuggets center JaVale McGee, knocking Lee off balance.

He came down on his right foot, which appeared to jam into the hardwood and causing an awkward contortion.

It was clear immediately something was really wrong as Warriors forward David Lee squirmed on the court, grunting and grabbing the top of his right thigh.

“Ahhhh, I felt a pop,” Lee could be heard saying on the video of the injury.

The preliminary diagnosis was a strained right hip flexor. The MRI confirmed Lee had the worst possible kind.

Hard not to feel bad for Lee. He’d waited 8 years to make the playoffs, and put together a career year to make it happen. He was crushed after the suspension prevented him from playing in New York. So you know he’s got to be devastated.

This could be a devastating blow for the Warriors, too. They only only lose their second-leading scorer, they lose their best rebounder — right when Denver’s best rebounder, Kenneth Faried, is set to return.

Carl Landry will likely start and play big minutes at power forward. After that, the Warriors will have to go small with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Richard Jefferson at power forward.

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Game 1 Rewind: Warriors Narrowly Miss Upset

Golden State did exactly what it wanted to do: slow down the NBA’s best transition team. Only problem with that was that put it put Andre Miller in play.

Golden State was on the verge of stealing Game 1, despite a subpar performance from Stephen Curry and an injury to David Lee. But Miller broke their hearts with a driving layup with 1.2 seconds left, handing the Warriors a 97-95 defeat, souring an otherwise gutsy performance.

JARRETT JACK: “We’re not into moral victories. In a simple phrase, we played good enough to lose.”

The Warriors’ defense contained speedy Denver point guard Ty Lawson and silenced forward Andre Iguodala, holding the Nuggets 11 points below their average. But Golden State couldn’t come up with an answer for Miller. He scored 18 of Denver’s 26 fourth-quarter points and finished with a game-high 28, taking advantage of the one-on-one defense he faced.

It was a dramatic end and a riveting start to a series most expect to be highly entertaining. The Warriors, even with the loss, head into Game 2 on Tuesday with plenty reasons to be confident.

“I thought we did some things very well,” coach Mark Jackson said. “What I told my team was that nobody came in here thinking that we were going to sweep the Denver Nuggets. You have tow in four games to advance and you can’t act like it’s over. So take the blow and be ready to make adjustments and respond.”

More on the Game 1 loss …

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Warriors’ David Lee Injures Hip; Await MRI Results

It was clear immediately something was really wrong as Warriors forward David Lee squirmed on the court, grunting and grabbing the top of his right thigh.

“Ahhhh, I felt a pop,” Lee could be heard saying on the video of the injury.

He was knocked out of his first career playoff game early in the fourth quarter. The preliminary diagnosis is a strained right hip flexor.

The injury happened at the 11:34 mark of the fourth quarter. He drove down the right side of the key for a layup and was fouled in mid-air by Nuggets center JaVale McGee, knocking Lee off balance.

He came down on his right foot, which appeared to jam into the hardwood and causing an awkward contortion.

X-rays taken Saturday night were negative. Lee is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday, which will determine the severity of his injury.

“You’re always worried about your teammate,” point guard Stephen Curry said. “You saw the look on his face when he went down. For him not to be able to finish the game, you knew it was something.”

According to WebMD, the hip flexors are a group of muscles — connecting the spine, the pelvis and the thigh bone — that move the hip forward when running and walking. A hip flexor strain is the stretching or tearing of one of those muscles, causing pain when the knee is raised.

There are three levels of hip flexor strains: Grade 1 (stretching), Grade 2 (partial tear) and Grade 3 (complete tear). The MRI will tell Warriors’ doctors if the hip flexor strain diagnosis is correct and which grade Lee sustained.

“It is unfortunate,” coach Mark Jackson said. “He is certainly a highlighted guy for us, somebody we count on.”

*******

According to some quick research online (none of this is official, just wanted to get some ballparks because I know you  you can get an unofficial diagnosis of which grade by the following parameters:

First Degree Strain
If you can move your leg to your chest without much discomfort, you most likely have a first degree strain. It can take anywhere from 48 hours to a week.

Second Degree Strain

If you had a lot of trouble moving your leg to your chest and had to stop part way through, you probably have a second degree pull. A second degree … needs to be taken care of extremely cautiously in order not to fully tear the injured area. This grade sidelines you for 3 to 4 weeks.

Third Degree Strain

If you can barely move your leg at all, you have a full tear of your muscle and requires a much longer time to heal. This takes a while.

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A Breakdown of the Matchups: Warriors v. Nuggets

Game 1 of the Warriors-Nuggets playoff series tips off Saturday afternoon. It figures to be the epitome of Western Conference basketball. Both teams have skill and depth, which will make for an interesting chess match between Denver coach George Karl and Golden State’s Mark Jackson.

Neither team has the A-list star to carry them to the next round. That puts added emphasis on the plethora of interesting match-ups featured in this series. Throw in some injury issues, experience gaps and crazy home courts, and you’ve got the makings of something riveting.

Here’s a look at the key match-ups in the series and who has the advantage.

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It’s Looking Like Injuries Will Play a Key Role in Warriors-Nuggets Series

Both the Warriors and Nuggets feature noted depth. It may come down to who has the best pinch-hitters because some key players are affected by injuries.

The Warriors, already without Brandon Rush, were hoping to be full strength by the postseason. But they have a few lingering issues that could test their bench.

The Nuggets have caught the injury bug of late at key positions at key positions.

Here’s a look at the hobbled and their status for Game 1.

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Schedule for Warriors-Nuggets playoff series

Game 1 - Sat., April 20: Golden State at Denver, 2:30 PM (PST), ESPN

Game 2 - Tue., April 23: Golden State at Denver, 7:30 PM (PST), TNT

Game 3 - Fri., April 26: Denver at Golden State, 7:30 PM (PST), ESPN2

Game 4 - Sun., April 28: Denver at Golden State, 6:30 PM (PST), TNT

Game 5 * Tue., April 30: Golden State at Denver, TBD

Game 6 * Thu., May 2: Denver at Golden State, TBD

Game 7 * Sat., May 4: Golden State at Denver,  TBD