It was a difference Coach Al Attles spotted long ago. But Attles couldn't start Lee regularly until the playoffs for he was injured much of the second half of the season. Over the year, he played only 22 minutes a game, averaging six points and nine rebounds. In the playoffs he was on the floor more than any other Warrior, pulled in more rebounds (17 a game) than anyone on either team and, in the fifth game, the 100-97 win that turned the series Golden State's way, it was Lee who led the Warriors.
Lee describes himself as a player "who has no moves, who can't jump and who doesn't have any kind of shot from more than a few feet away from the basket." What Lee can do is box out a freight train, tap in rebounds with the fingertip touch of a safecracker and do both of those things aggressively and tirelessly for 48 minutes. He is, in short, a consummate rebounder. He performed that job admirably in all four Golden State wins, but in the fifth game he added a couple of extra dimensions to bring the fans to their feet. He hit eight of 13 shots, two of them tough, short jumpers on which he was fouled, converting the free throws for three-point plays. More important was his defense on Abdul-Jabbar in the second half, when Milwaukee was rallying and Thurmond sat out 13 minutes after drawing his fifth foul with 7:58 to play in the third quarter. Lee guarded Kareem for all but 19 seconds of that time, holding him to one basket. It was that performance that made the folks back in Oakland, and the Warriors, stand up and put on a show of their own for Clyde Lee.