Lee doesn't miss from floor; sophomores drill rookies
LAS VEGAS -- David Lee still sports the remnants of a black eye, sustained in a recent game while trying to prevent a dunk.
He found things much easier Friday night.
The NBA's leading shooter had a field day in a game with no defense, going 14-for-14 from the field and scoring 30 points to lead the sophomores to a 155-114 victory over the rookies in the rookie challenge.
"I don't think there was going to be any flagrant fouls or anything by either team tonight," Lee said. "It was a pretty wide-open game."
Monta Ellis of Golden State added 28 points on a number of dunks as the sophomores set a game scoring record, surpassing the 142 points they scored in 2004. They shot 74.7 percent (68-of-91) and have won the last five games.
Lee, who leads the NBA in field-goal percentage at 61.2 percent, was voted the game's MVP. Chris Paul, the reigning Rookie of the Year, added 16 points, 17 assists and nine steals.
"Next year, when we come back, we're not going to be as happy to be here," Portland's Brandon Roy said. "We're going to be ready. They caught us off-guard."
Second-year stars schooled the league's rookies for the fifth straight time (and by an average margin of 25 points), putting on a dunking clinic in the Rookie Challenge tilt Friday in Las Vegas. A look at the lopsided results:
Lee played sparingly as a rookie, but has developed into perhaps the hardest-working and most popular player on the Knicks. He averages 11.2 points and 10.6 rebounds, and could be a candidate for either the most improved player or sixth man award.
"I was hoping for the opportunity and I was really happy to get it," Lee said. "My teammates helped out as well this year and then to just get in a game like this is all about just having fun."
Lee scored the first four points, and the game really wasn't close after that. Houston's Luther Head gave the sophomores a 26-15 lead with a 3-pointer with 13:31 left in the half, and the rookies never got within single digits again.
The rookies looked helpless later in the half, when Ellis had five alley-oop dunks in a span of less than three minutes, pushing the lead to 31 points on his final one.
The second-year players shot 78 percent (35-for-45) in the first half, with Paul recording 11 assists in 11 minutes off the bench. Ellis was 7-for-7 in the half.
"It was just like playing with us, with Golden State," Ellis said. "We had a lot of guys who can run up and down and pass the ball and shoot.
"Me and Chris [Paul] were talking about it before the game, and I said, 'No matter where you throw it up, I'll go get it."'
Lee added five more field goals in the first 5 minutes of the second half, and the lead ballooned to 40 on Raymond Felton's 3-pointer a few minutes later.
Last year's draft was considered a weak one, and the rookies did nothing to change that opinion. Even when they seemed to do something right, it went wrong.
Gay powerfully blocked one of Ellis' shoots off the backboard, but he was called for goaltending and it turned into a three-point play because Ellis had been fouled while taking his shot.
Ellis was 13-of-16 from the floor. Utah's Deron Williams scored 19 points and Felton had 17.
Adam Morrison finished with 16 points for the rookies. Andrea Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick, had 12 on 5-for-11 shooting.
"I had a lot of fun, but I wish we would have competed a little better," Morrison said. "Hopefully I'm back here with the sophomores team, and then I can do that to the rookie team."
The game was sponsored by T-Mobile, which teamed with the NBA to host more than 6,000 area students in the lower section of the arena.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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