Warriors still attractive as rich ‘dogs sans D-Lee

Published on Tuesday, 4/23/13, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

On Saturday in Game 1, I backed Golden St. for an easy winner as an eight-point underdog in its 97-95 loss at Denver. After Steph Curry tied the game with a sick corner trey, Andre Miller’s go-ahead bucket with 1.3 seconds remaining lifted the Nuggets to victory.

If the veteran point guard Miller doesn’t play out of his mind in a 28-point effort, Golden St. would’ve won outright. However, the circumstances are different for tonight’s Game 2 with David Lee ‘out’ for the Warriors and Kenneth Faried returning for Denver.

Lee, an excellent player for a long time who made his first All-Star appearance this year when he led the NBA in double-double’s, was making his postseason debut. Therefore, this is an especially painful blow for him personally, as he’s out for the season with a torn hip flexor.

When a team loses an All-Star player, it isn’t always a killer because it provides the opportunity for multiple players to step up with increased playing time. In this scenario, I can’t think of a better power forward in this league (one that’s obviously a reserve) than a feisty, tough-as-nails veteran like Carl Landry, who had 14 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes of playing time in Game 1. Landry’s style is perfectly made for the postseason — he’s physical at all times, an excellent rebounder who never misses a box out and a more-than-capable offensive player when he gets touches.

Also, the Warriors have Festus Ezeli, a raw rookie out of Vandy who can rebound and play defense with the best of ’em (although he’s very limited offensively). Therefore, I think the Warriors will be fine without Lee in terms of defense and rebounding.

And on offense, it’s all about Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack anyway. I think this trio will play well again tonight and we’ll have another tight game in Game 2. Give me the healthy underdog that’s playing with a nothing-to-lose attitude and has a head coach in Marc Jackson that won’t allow Lee’s absence to be an excuse for anything.

Play Golden St. +8 at Denver tonight in Game 2.

For the season, I own an 86-67 record (56.2%, +13.2 units) in the NBA. If interested, I have two additional picks in tonight’s package.

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