The evening began with Damion Lee getting his championship ring from Steph Curry and ended with the Suns’ wing showing why he deserved it in the Phoenix win.
It was always going to be an emotional night Lee, who said he had circled this date on his calendar when the schedule came out. However, the Suns’ summer free-agent acquisition showed his worth down the stretch, as he had the wherewithal to see out the win.
Lee is already a Suns fan favorite
In just a few months, Lee has shown himself as a big-game player who shows up in big moments. Most nights, Lee’s impact comes from his defense and three-point shooting, leading the team percentage wide at 47.7%.
Maybe even more important for the Suns this season is that Lee has been consistently available, joining Mikal Bridges as the only Phoenix player to play in all 42 games this season. Big shots, consistent availability, and effort have endeared Lee to the Phoenix faithful in short order.
After the Suns win over the Warriors, we should all appreciate Lee more. While it was not Lee’s best game, it may have been his best performance as a leader on the court.
Phoenix led Golden State by 26 points multiple times in the third quarter in what should have been an easy victory for the Suns, despite missing four starters. We also know nothing has been easy this season for Phoenix, and during the fourth quarter, things got a bit dicey at times as Steph Curry found his range.
Over the last couple of minutes, as Phoenix turned the ball over again, Lee stepped up and demanded the ball in the backcourt under immense pressure. It was Lee who could get three late fouls called against Curry and then go to the charity stripe and knock down six free throws with the game in the balance.
That willingness to get the ball and then step up and succeed when the game is on the line is what winners do. And no doubt, having a winner like Lee in the Suns’ rotation will only help as the games matter more and more.