Lee 'one of the guys' among NBA's elite

Lee 'one of the guys' among NBA's elite
February 17, 2013, 10:00 pm
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HOUSTON -- Western Conference All-Star coach Gregg Popovich was expected to give Spurs Tim Duncan and Tony Parker ample rest, but it was Warriors forward David Lee that sat more than any other player in the first half of the West's 143-138 win over the East Sunday night.

"There was a little mix-up with minutes in the first half," Lee said. "Coach came to me at halftime and was like, 'Oh, I didn't even realize it.' And then you saw I played a lot of minutes in the second half."

Lee played just under 10 minutes in the second half for a grand total of 13:25 -- exactly one minute and one second more than he played in his All-Star debut in 2010 -- but he wasn't disappointed with his playing time.

"Not at all," Lee said after contributing six points in the West's five-point win. "I'm never one to worry about (playing time). Especially in an All-Star Game. I was real, real excited to be a part of it, and most importantly we won and I was able to contribute a little bit."

Lee helped salvage one win for Golden State over the weekend, which previously watched Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson fall in the Rising Stars Challenge and Stephen Curry take an early exit from the three-point contest.

In his All-Star debut in 2010, Lee scored five points on 2-for-3 shooting, and collected two rebounds, one assist and a team-high-tying three turnovers. That year, he earned the win alongside LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, all of whom were served a loss while playing for the East Sunday.

For his limited minutes Sunday, Lee was effective. He committed one bad foul while Tyson Chandler was in the process of dunking, and had another curious play immediately after checking in for his second stint. The athletic 6-foot-10 forward quickly poached his first of two steals and looked to push the ball up-court to Blake Griffin, but his outlet pass hit referee Rodney Mott in the back and turned into Lee's lone turnover.

"I was throwing the outlet to Blake and as I was throwing the outlet I was thinking about what dunk he might do," Lee quipped. "No, I slipped a little bit there and he was running right next to the referee. I got him.

"Other than that I thought I played a pretty efficient game."

It was no 2007 Rising Stars Challenge performance, when Lee earned MVP honors for his perfect 14-for-14 night from the field. Then a member of the Knicks, he went for 30 points and added 11 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal.

But with competitors like Jorge Garbajosa, Adam Morrison and Marcus Williams, it was hardly the same stage as the one Lee occupied Sunday night.

"It's a great feeling," said Lee. "In these circles, I feel like I've been accepted and I'm one of the guys."