Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Amar'e and Lee position themselves to catch the free potato chip coupons from the remote-controlled blimp overhead.
Tonight was the night for Amar'e vs. David Lee 2: Electric Boogaloo as the Knicks arrive in Oakland on their West Coast tour to face the Golden State Warriors. These teams met in New York last week for David Lee's triumphant return to MSG - he finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds and the Warriors got the win. Amar'e Stoudemire, for his part, put forth a noble effort with 33 points and 10 rebounds for his squad - but, alas, it was not enough.
Now tonight, for the sequel, the Warriors have the home court advantage. This is no small advantage - Golden State is 5-0 at home this season and 6-0 when they score more than 100 points. Since the Knicks sent Lee to the Warriors this past summer in a sign-and-trade deal and separately brought Amar'e into NYC as the cornerstone of their reborn organization, Golden State has charged out to a 7-4 record while New York is still stumbling at 4-8. The kicker? Lee's out of action thanks to an infection he picked up after landing on Wilson Chandler's face.
Not surprisingly, the second-guessing of Lee's departure is already a healthy topic of discussion for basketball fans in NYC. Last season with the Knicks, Lee averaged 20.2 points, 11.7, rebounds, and 3.6 assists. So far this season, Amar'e is putting up an average of 21.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. With the numbers so close, it's easy to ask "Why make the change?"
What's our advice to Knicks fans? Well, what's done is done. It's time to move on. Sure, Amar'e costs more than $5 million this year, but you also get to have Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf in your lineup. Just keep building your team and taunting your soon-to-be Brooklyn neighbors. And most of all, be happy that this brand of basketball is played on the court and not in the office. Because as our man Josh Elliott demonstrated in that scenario, resting your future on Amar'e's shoulders may be a risky call.