GREENBURGH, N.Y. - David Lee showed no signs of a bruised ego or a broken heart Friday after being bypassed for one of the reserve spots for the Eastern Conference All-Star squad. Instead, Lee was gracious and said he was humbled just to be considered for the recognition.
"It was disappointing. It would've been a really cool experience, but the guys that got in were all very deserving," Lee said. "All those guys are tremendous players, and it's great to even be mentioned in that group or to be in the conversation."
Although Lee is averaging 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds and has 34 double-doubles, second to Dwight Howard's 35, NBA coaches did not name him one of the seven reserves.
"I think it's a compliment that you're in the race. It's a compliment that you're one of the top 15 guys," Mike D'Antoni said. "It means you're having a great year, and just keep it going."
Does he think Lee is disappointed? D'Antoni chuckled and said, "I think he's happy that in his contract year, he's doing pretty well."
D'Antoni said sometimes there is a lag period before a player's level of play is appreciated and that when a team gets better, individual awards soon follow. "He knows he's tied to the Knicks and the Knicks have got to get better," he said.
"Next year," he said he told Lee, "keep your numbers up, keep going, keep playing hard, we'll get the team a little better, get a winning record and get you in there."
Lee, who has had double-doubles in nine straight games -- averaging 18.8 points and 13.4 rebounds in that span -- and 31 of his last 34 games, said: "I'm really proud of what I've accomplished, but more importantly, of what our team is starting to accomplish right now."
No, his teammates were not keeping him away from sharp objects before practice, he told listeners before going into the locker room.
"Now," he said, "I'm gonna go cry at my locker."