New York Knicks' Anthony Randolph, right, is pressured for the...

New York Knicks' Anthony Randolph, right, is pressured for the ball by Philadelphia 76ers' Evan Turner (12), Thaddeus Young and Andres Nocioni, left, of Argentina, in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game. (Oct. 20, 2010) Credit: AP

OAKLAND, Calif. - When the Golden State Warriors acquired David Lee from the Knicks, they did so with great trepidation. It wasn't about paying $80 million to the first-time All-Star, it was about giving up Anthony Randolph. The fear was that the 21-year-old, who toiled in Don Nelson's doghouse for two years, would thrive in Mike D'Antoni's system.

But entering Friday night's game against the Warriors - in which the Knicks scored 41 points in the second quarter and brought a 98-84 lead into the fourth - Randolph's return to the Bay Area was hardly a triumphant one. He recorded his first DNP-Coach's Decision in Wednesday's win in Sacramento, and D'Antoni gave indications that Randolph might have to get comfortable with that seat on the bench for a little while.

It's basically the same place he was for most of his time with the Warriors, but there's one key element missing: Nelson, who was extremely critical of Randolph.

"This is a cakewalk here. I love it,'' Randolph said. "Nellie had his ways but, not to say I didn't enjoy myself out here, but this situation is a lot more easier, there's a lot more dialogue with the coaches.''

D'Antoni has been criticized in the past for a lack of communication with players, but with Randolph, the coaching staff has been very clear. The 6-11 Randolph's game is extremely raw, erratic and, at this point, undefined. The Knicks would like to see him define it by observing versatile players such as Lamar Odom, Boris Diaw and Marcus Camby. "At the end of the day, you have to be efficient,'' D'Antoni said. "And we're trying to get him efficient.''

The decision was made to do it in practice rather than in games. It is a philosophy that Randolph said he understands. Despite his status as a former first-round pick, Randolph said he has no sense of entitlement to minutes or a role in the rotation.

" . . . I ain't really proved nothing in this league yet, so like I said, I've just got to earn his trust while I'm on the court and just keep on the build,'' Randolph said. "It's a long season. I've shown in spurts what I can do, and whether or not I can play in this league is not the question. It's just a matter of me learning and being smarter with how I play.''

Notes & quotes: D'Antoni had no problem with the brief skirmish between Shawne Williams and Bill Walker in a post-practice scrimmage Thursday and said he doesn't think Williams, who has yet to appear in a game this season, is frustrated. "I'd be more frustrated if I was him sitting home in Memphis, wouldn't you?'' D'Antoni said of Williams, a late training camp invitee who beat out Patrick Ewing Jr. for the final roster spot. "He's grateful for where he is, and I think any player who isn't playing will be a little frustrated. But you've got to understand, he's already gotten lucky. Now it's about being lucky again. The NBA is about getting a break and being in the right place at the right time.'' . . . Lee sat out Friday night's game, his fourth straight, because of the left elbow infection he suffered after inadvertently elbowing Wilson Chandler in the mouth, which knocked out one of Chandler's teeth and resulted in a deep gash in Lee's elbow Nov. 10. The Warriors said almost all of the swelling has subsided . . . Eddy Curry left the team to tend to a family matter . . . The Knicks have scored at least 40 points in the second quarter of each of the last two games.

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