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Lee doesn't miss from floor; sophomores drill rookies

2/18/2007 - NBA

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.

Rudy Gay of Memphis and Utah's Paul Millsap each scored 22
points for the rookies, who never led and trailed by as many as 43
points.

"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."

Bill Russell sat next to the rookie bench, and he might have
been reminded of his old rival, Wilt Chamberlain, while watching
Lee. Chamberlain had three games where he was perfect on 15 or more
attempts, including an 18-for-18 night on Feb. 24, 1967.

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.