After getting blown out at the Bogut Center, Amar'e Stoudemire said the Knicks "really need to look at ourselves in the mirror." That may be the problem. This one looked very much like a mirror image of the last couple of years, where slow starts, lackadaisical defense and awful shot selection led to exactly what Stoudemire endured in Milwaukee.
Perhaps when they meet at center court Wednesday night at the Garden, Stoudemire -- along with handing over this month's rent for the sublease on Lee's White Plains crib -- can commiserate with Lee.
So this is what the last five years have been like?
I talked to David today in New York and while he admits it has been tough to cut the cord, there is obviously a sense of relief in him that Golden State is off to a good start (5-2) and the circus atmosphere he endured in New York is behind him. Well, not quite behind him. He wasn't in town yet and already there was a tabloid-inspired controversy regarding innocuous comments made by Mike D'Antoni that were construed in one publication as "a dig" at Lee.
D'Antoni was upset with the report and quickly got word to Lee that it didn't come close to representing what he meant. Lee said he had no issue with D'Antoni or what was said.
"I was surprised he spoke out about it," Lee said, somewhat amused by the circus.
Then he responded to the alleged "dig" that D'Antoni made when he said the Knicks are defending the rim better this season because they are taller and more athletic than they were last season, when the 6-9 Lee was the team's starting center most nights.
"We gave up a lot of points in the paint and we were one of the worst shot-blocking teams in the league; that's what we were," Lee said. "With a true shot-blocking center [7-footer Andris Biedrins] next to me, I've realized I can be a true defender when we have personnel that's built for team defense."
Check my story in today's Newsday about David Lee's return and where he might have ended up had LeBron James chose New York, rather than Miami.
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* - Anthony Rieber reported how what started out with the sportsmanship of Stoudemire seeking out Andrew Bogut before tonight's game in Milwaukee turned into Stoudemire drawing a tech and accusing Bucks coach Scott Skiles and Bogut of deliberately throwing elbows at him, perhaps in retaliation for his role in Bogut's gruesome injury last season.
* - Ronny Turiaf suffered a sprained left knee late in the first half and his status for Wednesdays' game at this point is undetermined. The Knicks can ill-afford to lose Turiaf, their best paint defender and energizer off the bench, for any length of time. With Timofey Mozgov struggling to provide consistently effective minutes and Anthony Randolph just not strong enough to handle full-time duty at the five, is it too soon to start wondering what other options there are at center? Eddy Curry returned to practice on Monday and . . . yeah, never mind. Hey, what's Earl Barron up to these days? *weak smile*
* - The Knicks may catch a break Wednesday with Monta Ellis, the NBA's leading scorer, listed as day-to-day with a back strain after hard fall late in Monday's win in Toronto.
* - A note on the technical foul assessed to assistant trainer Anthony Goenaga in the third quarter against the Bucks. The NBA rule book (Rule 3, Sec. IV) says trainers must remain on the sidelines, but there is no written rule as to when the trainer is permitted to go onto the court to attend to an injured player. This is generally accepted after the whistle has blown to stop play, which clearly had taken place when Timofey Mozgov went down after taking Drew Gooden's shoulder to his ribs in the third quarter. Mozgov had remained down well after the whistle and Goenaga went out to check on him. Referee Ronnie Garretson issued a technical foul on Goenaga for leaving the bench area, but clearly Goenaga's intentions were to attend to the player. Still, Goenaga may have went onto the court without first getting permission from an official, which, let's be honest, is an overzealous adherence to the rule.