David Lee did not receive a warm, fuzzy reception at Madison Square Garden as a member of the Warriors Wednesday night. But the former Knick didn’t get booed and trashed, either. In fact, Lee heard nothing, saw nothing at all.
That’s what happens when you get suspended by the league. You’re not even allowed in the building.
The NBA ruined Lee’s second return to the Garden since he went to Golden State in July 2010 in a sign and trade, suspending the Warriors All-Star power forward along with Pacers center Roy Hibbert one game apiece without pay for “instigating” a brawl Tuesday in Indiana. So Lee sat the Warriors’ 109-105 loss to the Knicks in the Stephen Curry 54-point show.
The penalties were announced by NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson, who also fined Curry, Klay Thompson, plus the Pacers’ Lance Stephenson $35,000 each for “escalating the altercation” which exploded with 6:10 left in the game. Hibbert will sit Thursday night against the Clippers.
Golden State coach Mark Jackson, making his first coaching appearance in the building he once captivated as a Rookie of the Year, admitted he was “very surprised” by Lee’s suspension.
“Didn’t think he deserved it. The league made a decision. We don’t agree with it,” Jackson, who started rookie Draymond Green for Lee, said beforehand. “We’re a no excuse basketball team. The mission remains the same: the New York Knicks are our opponent and we will act accordingly.
“I do not agree with the decision and I’m sure the film doesn’t either.”
But it was pretty certain Jackson wasn’t going to get a do-over from his former coach. Though the Knicks’ good fortune in terms of missing All-Star caliber players continued, the Warriors were forced into the third game of five-game trip without Lee, their second leading scorer (19.0) and best rebounder (11.1). He certainly could have helped against Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who hauled in a career-best 28 rebounds.
Suspension meant no Garden return for Lee
New York Post | Feb 28