Former Knick, Lee Double-Doubles His Old Team In Warrior Win At MSG

Published on: 11th November, 2010

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Former Knick, Lee Double-Doubles His Old Team In Warrior Win At MSG  | read this item

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New York – A Hollywood scriptwriter couldn’t have written tonight’s story any better than it turned out for David Lee in his return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since leaving the Knicks as a free agent after the 2009-2010 season.

Lee, visiting his old haunt in midtown Manhattan, did to the Knicks what Knicks fans had grown used to seeing him do to opposing teams in his years playing at MSG. He hung another double-double (28 points, 10 rebounds) on his old team as he led his new team, the Golden State Warriors, to a 122-117 win over the reeling Knicks.

The longtime fan favorite of Knicks loyalists received a nice ovation during pregame introductions and was honored with a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout, then ended his night by jogging off to cheers after completing some postgame interviews on the court.

“It meant a lot to me, and it was a great feeling,” Lee said. “Like I said, it would have been all for nothing if we wouldn’t have won the game, because I would have come out of there very, very frustrated, especially after being up 19. So I’m happy we finished it out.”

Coming into tonight’s contest, Lee talked about all his great memories of playing in New York, despite all the losing he experienced in his five-year run.

“It’s going to be extra emotional for me,” Lee told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “And I’m really excited to come in with a young team that I’m proud of. All I’m really worried about is finding a way to win.”

Lee had the right idea as his Warriors, with whom he signed a six-year, $80 million deal in a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks, had too much firepower, particularly in the backcourt, for the Knicks porous defense to contend with.

Stephon Curry (25 points) and Monta Ellis (22 points) give the league fits now as nearly unstoppable offensive forces but tonight, it seemed the Knicks were unable to keep those two from getting clear shots at the basket from outside and from their drives to the hoop. The Warriors scored an astounding 74 points in the paint to just 44 for the Knicks, many of which came when Curry and Ellis weaved their way through and around Knicks guards Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas.

The lack of defense is starting to grate on Mike D’Antoni’s team.

“We didn’t have the energy we needed,” said Amar’e Stoudmire. “We just need stops. If we got stops, we had a chance of winning. I think executing offensively is key for us but we have to do a better job defensively.”

The Knicks have fallen into a recent habit lately, that seems to be a mark of D’Antoni-coached teams. They are scoring points in bunches but, like last year’s crew, are giving up more points to opposing teams and losing games. To give it up to a high-powered offense like the Warriors is one thing but to get blown out the previous night in Milwaukee by the league’s worst shooting team is not a good sign for this team.

Right off the bat, you sensed this was going to be a poorly played game on the defensive end when they allowed the Warriors to put up 34 point in the first quarter. Golden State’s offensive frenzy never slowed down as they scored 60 points in the first half and 62 points in the second, shooting 53% from the field for the game. Many of their points came off of turnovers on the Knicks offensive end, leading to 20 fast break points.

“We just can’t get comfortable with losing. That’s the mentality that we can’t have,” Stoudemire said. “So we’ve got to make sure that we understand how important it is to look at film and look at ourselves in the mirror and try to improve individually, and then ultimately we’ll get better as a team. Hopefully we all as players will understand that and move on.”

Lee briefly had to leave the game in the third quarter when he was cut after his arm crashed into Chandler’s mouth while grabbing a rebound. He returned with a white bandage near his elbow that was mostly red by the end of the game, a symbol of a tougher Warriors team.

“I saw how we played last year and I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have won a game like this, especially with Amare in attack mode the whole time,” Curry said. “We were able to fight through a lot of injuries. David’s over there, got a tooth [cut] in his elbow, fighting through all of that to get a win on the road.”

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said the team has been “a little tight” the last couple of games.

“Outside shots are not going. People are pressing. Little things here, little things there,” he said. “It’s going to be a little work in progress. But the one thing they did tonight, they hung in there. They fought back.”

Now, if D’Antoni can start teaching his young Knicks the importance of getting defensive stops versus the importance of trying to outscore opponents every night, there may begin to appear little w’s on the Knicks side of the boxscore.

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