Golden State’s Lee excited to be with the Warriors


Nov 11

After the so-called Big Three of this past summer’s free agency class announced they’d be joining forces in Miami, teams quickly turned their attention a group of players that included Carlos Boozer, David Lee and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Both Boozer and Lee met with the Bulls during the first week of July and expressed interest in coming to Chicago. In the end, though, it was Boozer who signed with the Bulls, while Lee took his services to the Golden State Warriors. Stoudemire made his move to New York to join the Knicks.

While Thursday could have provided an intriguing matchup between Boozer and Lee, injury kept both out of action, so the duel will have to wait until the teams meet again on Feb. 5.

For Lee, who missed the game due after a former teammate’s tooth cut into his arm the night before in New York, there are no regrets about how free agency transpired and he is excited to be on a team that won six of its first eight games, their best start since the 1994-95 season.

“I’m really happy with the decision I made,” said Lee. “We’re having a great start to the season here in Golden State and we’re very excited.”

Lee added that the Bulls made a good choice in signing Boozer, who he expects to be a force upon his return which could happen in approximately three weeks.

“I think he’s going to be great for them once he’s back and healthy,” Lee said of Boozer. “He’s a great player, so they made a good decision.”

As for Lee’s injury, courtesy of the Knicks’ Wilson Chandler, the cut couldn’t be stitched up in case there was an infection, which would have potentially been sealed off and caused a more substantial problem.

A portion of Chandler’s tooth actually had to be removed from Lee’s arm. On Thursday morning, Lee woke up to “unbearable pain,” which led to a visit with one of the Bulls’ team doctors and a trip to the emergency room for an IV of antibiotics and further treatment.

As of Thursday evening, though, Lee said he was feeling better and hoped to return as early as Saturday in Milwaukee.

“There was a little more motivation last night for sure,” Lee said of his return on Wednesday to Madison Square Garden, his home arena for his first five seasons as a pro. “But I wish I could play this one tonight. There is a little extra motivation, not from an anger standpoint, but just NBA players are very prideful. I’d like to think I’m one of the better power forwards in the league and a guy who is helping his team win games.”

Noah made an early impression on Lee

Though Lee said he didn’t talk much to anyone outside of his family and friends as he underwent the processes of free agency, one of his former college teammates certainly could have given him some insight on the Bulls had he asked for it.

Lee and the Bulls’ Joakim Noah played collegiately at Florida for one season under Billy Donovan.

“The first time I saw him on campus,” Lee said when asked for his favorite Noah memory. “He was a freshman and I was a senior. Coach Donovan told me that we had a buddy system and I had to make sure he got to class on time, which first of all, was absolutely impossible.”

As it turns out, Noah did indeed show up, even if he brought one of his good friends—Bob Marley—and wasn’t exactly up to dress code.

“He has shorts down below his waist, no shirt on and a boom box playing music while he’s walking,” Lee recalled.

“He is a very free spirited guy, but I think that’s what makes him so special,” Lee said of Noah. “There are very few guys in the NBA that have the skill of playing hard night in and night out and providing that constant effort. He’s got a great skill set, but what makes him so special is that intensity that he brings every single night. The Bulls are very lucky to have him.”

Audio—Warriors forward/center David Lee on this past summer’s free agency and teaming up with Joakim Noah for a season at Florida (11.11.10):

Noah and Rose among elite company

– Joakim Noah had 13 points and 19 rebounds on Monday against Denver, giving him 94 points and 90 rebounds in six games this year. Noah is the first player in Bulls history to average 15 or more points and rebounds over the first six games of a season; the only other active players to do that are Kevin Garnett (2007-08 and 2004-05) and Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93) (Elias Sports Bureau).

– Derrick Rose is currently the only player in the NBA who is 21.0 ppg and 9.0 apg this season. Last year, Rose was one of three players (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade) in the NBA who averaged at least 20.0 ppg and 6.0 apg (for players who qualified for the scoring title). With his numbers, Rose was the first Bull to accomplish this feat since 1991-92, when Michael Jordan (30.1 ppg, 6.1 apg) and Scottie Pippen (21.0 ppg, 7.0 apg) posted those averages.

Bulls vs. Warriors season notes

The Bulls have won four of their last five against the Warriors … the two teams split (1-1) their meetings last year; they have split the season series in nine of the past 10 years (Chicago went 2-0 in 2008-09) … the Bulls own a 41-27 edge in Chicago and have gone 7-1 at the UC over the last eight seasons … against the Warriors last season, Luol Deng averaged 20.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 4.5 apg against Golden State, while Monta Ellis posted 31.5 ppg, 6.5 apg and 5.5 rpg in 47.0 mpg in two games versus the Bulls … the Bulls are 3-4 all-time against the Warriors in overtime … prior to Chicago’s season series sweep in 2008-09, the Bulls hadn’t swept this series since doing so for six straight seasons from 1992-98 … Chicago is 12-3 all time against Golden State at the United Center.

Audio—Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (11.11.10):

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