"I thought in spurts we played much better defense than last year," Lee said.
After the Nets cut it to 91-86 in the fourth, Lee scored five points during a 10-0 run that clinched the first of three preseason meetings between the clubs.
"This is a little bit of a litmus test in terms of seeing where we're at defensively," said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, whose team had 24 turnovers. "Our inability to contain that first dribble puts the burden on everyone else, and we've just got to continue to work at it and find the guys who can get it done."
Newcomer Darko Milicic was 1 of 4 from the field in limited action for the Knicks. Danilo Gallinari had nine points in 26 minutes after playing only 28 games last season in an injury-plagued rookie year.
"Everybody just has to be helpful to the team," Gallinari said. "That's what I'm trying to be."
Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said Gallinari, who spent last preseason riding an exercise bike, is fitting in from the start this year.
"He hit a couple 3s that turned the game around a little bit," D'Antoni said. "He'll just keep getting better."
Eddy Curry was out with a right calf injury for the Knicks, who wrapped up their stay in the area after five days of training camp at Skidmore College. For the Nets, Keyon Dooling, Eduardo Najera and Courtney Lee were all out with injuries.