Carl Landry has done it before. When the Houston Rockets lost all-star center Yao Ming to injury in the 2007-08 regular season, instant doom was forecast. But the then-rookie Landry was a key fill-in who helped Houston extend what became a 22-game winning streak — third-longest in NBA history — and a playoff berth.
The season-ending injury Saturday to Golden State all-star forward David Lee wrought instant doom to the Warriors, or so many pundits have forecast. Can Landry ably fill in again and help his team get on another winning streak? We'll begin to get the answer Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Nuggets.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson refused to name his starter to replace Lee at power forward, but chances are good it will be Landry. The 6-foot-9, 248-pound veteran played 81 regular-season games for Golden State.
"David was our captain, leader, our all-star — so he's irreplaceable. But we've got guys who can pick up the weight of his loss," Landry said os losing Lee. "We've been battling injuries all year, and guys have been filling the role. Now, we have to do the same thing. We're the same team."
Landry had 14 points and five rebounds in Game 1, playing nearly 24 minutes. He averaged 10.8 points and six rebounds in the regular season and is a career 53.6 percent shooter from the field.
"Now is an opportunity for guys to step up and not be David Lee, but do their job," Jackson said. "I don't want guys to get out of character. Their job, at the end of the day, is not to be David Lee."