David Lee has not had the postseason he imagined.
After eight years of playing on lottery teams, the two-time All-Star was knocked out of his first playoff game with a torn hip flexor injury that should have ended his season.
In a sense, it did. The power forward has seen very limited action since departing Game 1 of the Nuggets series. For good reason; when he has played, Lee can barely muster the speed to get back up and down the court in time for a possession.
That partially explains his mediocre Game 4 box score: 7:49 minutes, one defensive rebound, four offensive rebounds, one steal, zero points on 0-of-2 shooting and a plus-minus of minus-12.
But the Warriors’ lone All-Star made an important contribution in Game 4 just by showing up. After Bogut and Landry collected three personal fouls apiece in the first quarters, Golden State lacked depth in the front court. And although Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green have improved their offensive capabilities since the regular season, a one-legged Lee poses a greater threat from 15-18 feet than either rookie.
When Jackson ran a play for Lee in Game 6 of the Nuggets series, the purpose was largely symbolic. His most recent cameo on the court may not have been pretty, but it was substantive. More importantly, it helped the Warriors stave off what could have been a disastrous Game 4 loss.