NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Lee ready for his opportunity in Game 4 — There’s no doubt LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have taken control of the last two games of these NBA Finals. Yet even as the Cavs were wrapping up their Game 3 win on Tuesday, though, the opposing Golden State Warriors found a reason for some Game 4 hope in the person of David Lee. The little-used power forward sparked the Warriors’ mini-rally late in Game 3 and is due for a bigger role tonight, writes Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
Who else could pull this off so calmly? Who else could be this ready after being such a tiny part of the team’s rotation… until Game 3 of the NBA finals on Tuesday?
Who else could tie all of this together so surprisingly, neatly and completely—all while knowing he could be traded this summer?
Nobody except Lee, who has risen and fallen in his four seasons as a Warrior and now is rising out of nowhere again.
Yes, with the Warriors down 2-1 to Cleveland and Thursday’s Game 4 set up as a stand-or-fall championship moment, the biggest Warriors wild-card is none other than their former All-Star power forward.
Who was that playing center and working the pick-and-roll so effortlessly with Stephen Curry during the Warriors’ mad and ultimately failed fourth-quarter rally on Tuesday?
The same guy the Warriors are now counting on to keep triggering the pick-and-roll, to keep freeing up Curry and to help keep this season alive.
“I’d love to say this is some big comeback story or something like that,” Lee said Wednesday of his remarkable 13-minute stint in Game 2.
Steve Kerr has left little doubt that Lee has earned more playing time in this series, which comes after Lee didn’t play a single minute in Games 1 and 2 and only 12 total minutes in the five-game Western Conference finals.
And Lee’s teammates, who watched Lee gracefully accept losing his job to Draymond Green early this season, absolutely want to see what Lee can do with his last second chance.
“He’s a pro; he’s a true pro,” Green said. “To come in—haven’t played the entire series, I don’t think he’d played against Game 3 or 2 against Houston… to come in and have the impact on the game the way he did was huge.
“I’m sure he’ll continue to play now, because he gave us a huge spark.”
“Thankfully, he’s stayed professional, said the right things, done the right things, and was ready in a big moment for us,” general
manager Bob Myers said. “And probably will see some more time as a result of how he performed.
“It’s really a testament to him. A lot of times players can go in the other direction and he certainly didn’t.”
So, David, is this a nice way to wrap up such a mixed-up season—mostly sitting on the sidelines watching the greatest run the franchise has made in 40 years?
“We’ll see what happens,” Lee said. “All I can really do is bring the same attitude.
“With all I’ve been through this year, I really felt last night that if I got my opportunity, that good things were going to happen. And I had that confidence, and fortunately they did.
“We weren’t able to get a win, which is the most important thing, but hopefully some of the momentum we created last night can carry over into this next game and we can get one on the road here.”