David Lee tore his right hip flexor Saturday and is out for the rest of the season, which obviously includes the rest of the Warriors' first-round series vs. Denver.
Obviously, this is a major hit to the Warriors, who are already out-manned by the Nuggets, and even more, a crushing blow for Lee, who waited eight seasons for a shot in the playoffs and now is out after only three-plus quarters of Game 1.
Adjustments must be made . . . chess pieces moved . . . strategies revamped . . . new players tapped, core pieces depended upon even more . . .
But all of that was going to happen in the wake of the Warriors' two-point loss in Game 1. The loss of Lee just puts a greater, tighter spotlight on Golden State's playoff plot points.
Let's go over some of them . . .
But no matter what, no matter the matchup, in every game, Lee does things (grab rebounds, move the ball on offense) and gives the Warriors minutes they need at power forward. He was a huge plus-player for the Warriors this season. When he was good, they were good.
It's a big void to fill -- just a consistent presence on the defensive boards and moving and passing on offense. So how will Mark Jackson adjust?
I'd guess he'll consider moving Draymond Green into the starting lineup to try to keep Kenneth Faried (back after missing Game 1) off the boards early to keep Carl Landry as a key second unit scorer.
But as the rhythm of the game is established, I think small forward Harrison Barnes can slide to the 4 when Denver plays Wilson Chandler or Andre Iguodala at power forward, which is a lot, and I think that a quicker Warriors lineup might not be a terrible option vs. the Nuggets.
Barnes was a non-factor for the last three quarters of Game 1 -- I don't know if that would automatically change if he moves to the 4 (the same guys would be guarding him, essentially), but it never hurts if the Warriors can get another play-maker/runner into the game without causing problems on the post.
Denver doesn't play post basketball, so you can go smaller against the Nuggets. That's the theory, anyway.
The Warriors need somebody sealing off the lane when Denver's smaller players come slashing in there, and Bogut did a marvelous job of it in Game 1 (except in the last 2 seconds), and the slow-down pace obviously suited him.
If it gets sped up in Game 2, that would not be good for Bogut -- but it wouldn't have been good for Lee, either.
As I've said previously, the Warriors don't need two stationary post players to match up with Denver, but they do need at least one guy locking down the defensive glass and serving as a passing/cutting post player for the Warriors' offense.
However, the Warriors went to that action early in Game 1 and Denver pretty much busted it up by double-teaming Curry while rotating to Lee in time to bother him with the ball.
So Jackson went to a Curry/Klay Thompson P/R and that worked fairly efficiently. I'd expect more of that in Game 2, and I'd also expect more straight-up Curry isolations to keep the extra-defender away from him for as long as possible.
If Green gets major minutes, he's an adept screener/passer, but he'll have even more trouble finishing against Denver's length inside than Lee did.
In non-DLee points . . .
That's an interesting Denver take to read after many Warriors fans insisted Jackson lost that game himself.
My take: Neither coach had an edge on the other in Game 1, and we shall see how the series progresses now that the counter-moves are being plotted.
But without Lee down the stretch in Jackson's first playoff game as a coach, the Warriors were tied in the last seconds vs. a team that is now 39-3 at home.
Bad coaching by Jackson? Come on
The Warriors, meanwhile, have Thompson, who qualifies as half-a-stopper and has enormous offensive responsibilities, too. Jarrett Jack and Curry definitely aren't in this conversation, Brandon Rush was hurt in November and Kent Bazemore is a rookie who hasn't played much.
So when it comes down to a few last possessions, the Warriors had to move Green in to try to stay in front of Miller. That's a lot to ask of a rookie forward, but that's also what happens when you don't have anybody else to call on.