The Golden State Warriors’ playoff chances took a big hit after Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets after news of David Lee’s season-ending right hip flexor tear. After a heartbreaking last-second loss thanks to the veteran savvy of backup point guard Andre Miller, do the Warriors have a chance at pulling off a Louisville-like comeback and win their first round series?
It goes without saying that Lee’s injury could jeopardize the Warriors’ chances at keeping this series competitive. Their lone All-Star selection this season—although Stephen Curry and head coach Mark Jackson would beg to differ—Lee was one of the team’s top scorers, rebounders, playmakers and leaders. With a reliable jump shot and knack at rebounding the ball on defense, he will no longer be at the Warriors’ disposal against the Nuggets.
That being said, the Warriors are down but definitely not out. Much like the Nuggets losing Danilo Gallinari before the start of the postseason, the Warriors will be without one of the primary options. Like other moments during the regular season, the team will need to rally despite this unfortunate circumstance and rely on others to step up their production.
The biggest contribution increase needs to come from the next power forward in line on the depth chart: Carl Landry. A reliable bench leader for the Warriors all season long, he will be heavily relied upon, regardless of whether he starts or continues to come off the bench.
While his game is a little different than Lee’s, as he’s more of a post player on offense, he could expect to find himself in even more crucial situations as a focal point of the offense, especially when playing alongside other Warriors from the second unit. Especially when matched up against Kenneth Faried, who should be making his return for Game 2 and the rest of the series, Landry will need to prove his worth for the team when it matters most and when the team needs him most.
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