The Knicks Have a Throwback Night in Milwaukee - NBC New York

The Knicks Have a Throwback Night in Milwaukee

Abysmal first quarter leads to 27-point Knicks loss



    The Knicks Have a Throwback Night in Milwaukee

    The Knicks are making a big deal out of David Lee's return to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

    There's talk of a video tribute to the memories of life with Lee, whose place in Knicks history is one of the more confusing things to figure out this side of cold fusion. He put up some good numbers and always played hard, but he did it for some of the worst teams in the history of the franchise. Knicks fans appreciated his efforts and cheered him lustily, but there wasn't a single one of them who didn't realize he was below average defensively or that having Lee as your best player was actually a symptom of how sick the franchise really was.

    Players like that are going to get a nice round of applause upon their return to the Garden because they've earned that much. That's about as much as the face of the franchise's lowest point should get, however. The thought of a video tribute, with clips culled from years of humiliating blowout losses, is grotesque, especially in light of Tuesday night's 107-80 loss to the Bucks.

    It was the kind of game that made Lee's reputation in New York. The Knicks came out flat, were down 22 points after 12 minutes and spent the rest of the night simply going through the motions en route to a blowout loss. It isn't a loss that needs much deep analysis. The Knicks failed to move the ball and find open shots, just as they did on Sunday against the Sixers, and their defense on the perimeter allowed Brandon Jennings to feast on the offensive end.

    On nights like that, Lee would wind up with 19 points and 15 rebounds to elicit praise from those who only see the final numbers and ignore the fact that he shouldered large responsibility for the disaster on the court. A perusal of Twitter and Knicks fan sites during and after the game found people who were mighty upset with the Knicks' performance. There was good reason for that, but it makes you wonder just what people found so charming about Lee's role in hundreds of games like this in the first place.

    Whatever Lee's charms, a big part of the reason he was sent to Golden State was because it was time for the Knicks to be done with finding such efforts acceptable. They'll happen from time to time, this is still a team that looks destined for a .500 record, but turning the players who help create them into heroes isn't something that can go on any longer if there's any serious attempt to rejoin the real NBA world. 

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.