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39° Good Morning

Coaches send a clear message to Lee and the Knicks

The news that he was not selected among the Eastern Conference all-star reserves was a lot easier to take for David Lee when he saw that no one from a team under .500 was invited. In fact, there is only player in the game that plays on a losing team. That would be Allen Iverson, who was voted in by fans. The 76ers are 15-30.

Consider that the Knicks haven't had an all-star since 2001, when Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell were selected as reserves. The Knicks were 48-34 that season, so not only was it the last season the team had representation at the all-star game, it was, coincidentally, the last time the team had a winning record.

Still, Lee still has an outside shot to make the trip to Dallas for the Feb. 14 showcase, especailly if Kevin Garnett, who was voted as a starter by the fans, decides to rest his knee rather than make the trip. But injury replacements are chosen by David Stern, who may bypass Lee to give a lifetime achievement nod to Shaquille O'Neal. If not to have Shaq's bigger-than-life presence at what could be one of the biggest all-star weekends in history, but to give the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers a second all-star.

Really, it's amazing that the Celtics, five games behind Cleveland, have three all-stars (Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce), the Hawks, who are 5.5 games back, have two (Joe Johnson and Al Horford) and yet the Cavs have just one (LeBron). Says a lot about the debate as to how good Cleveland would be without LeBron.

Speaking of LeBron (which means we're speaking of 2010) there is a theory that, aside from the losing record thing -- hey, Danny Granger made the all-star team as a reserve last season off a losing team -- suggests another, perhaps even subconscious, reason why Lee did not get enough votes to be an all-star.

Yup, an anti-Knicks bias.

Now, if you have read this far you will notice that I already debunked this theory before it was even presented by explaining how not a single reserve, either East or West, was selected from a losing team. But let's explore it for the sake of entertainment.

Basically, this is the theory: If you are Chicago, Miami, New Jersey and especially Cleveland, you don't want the Knicks, with all of their salary cap space and the New York/Madison Square Garden thing, to be able to boast having an all-star player on their roster as part of the lure for one of those superstar free agents.

Certainly a ridiculous notion.

Or is it?

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* - The injury to Jared Jeffries (hyper-extended right knee), which caused him to miss the entire second half, should be a major concern for the Knicks, who are already reeling with seven losses in their last 10 games. On top of that, Al Harrington said he will get an MRI on his left knee, which has been bothering him for weeks and has sapped a lot of explosiveness from his drives to the basket.

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