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Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - 8:00 PM ET
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Lee gets 65th double-double for Knicks

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NEW YORK (AP)

The Knicks have decisions to make on David Lee and Nate Robinson. The Nets may have their own concerning Lawrence Frank. Both teams are free to begin plotting their strategies. Basketball in the New York area is now closed for the season after the Knicks beat the Nets 102-73 on Wednesday night behind 12 points and 12 rebounds from David Lee, his NBA-best 65th double-double. Wilson Chandler scored 16 points for the Knicks, who won for only the fourth time in their final 17 games and finished coach Mike D'Antoni's first season with a 32-50 record - a nine-win improvement from 2007-08 under Isiah Thomas. "I think we've identified a lot of positives and we're going to build on that and try to shore up the negatives and be a better team next year," D'Antoni said. New York completed its fifth straight season without a playoff appearance. Because Portland qualified for the postseason, the Knicks will enter next season tied with Minnesota for the longest playoff drought. New Jersey is headed home too, its second straight long summer following six years in a row in the postseason. There's been speculation that could cost Frank his job. "I'm disappointed that we're not playing in terms of postseason. I don't think anyone is ever glad it's over because you want to at least get into the postseason. That's kind of your entry into the NBA," Frank said. "We knew obviously what our fate was these last couple of games. I thought we competed hard up until tonight's game." Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 18 points for the Nets, who sat out top players Devin Harris (sore left shoulder) and Vince Carter (sprained right big toe). Lee capped his breakout season by becoming the first Knicks player to lead the NBA in double-doubles since Patrick Ewing had 47 in 1996-87, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Now the Knicks will have to decide whether to keep him and Robinson, who are both eligible for restricted free agency. New York can match any offer to either player. "This is where I want to be next year and for a lot of years to come and hopefully it works out this summer," Lee said. D'Antoni and Frank said they expected to make the playoffs this season, even though their bosses are playing for the future. Frank hopes he is still part of New Jersey's, with speculation his job is in jeopardy following a 34-48 finish. Both teams lacked talent after making moves to position themselves to be players in the free agent summer of 2010, with the Nets dealing Jason Kidd last season and Richard Jefferson in the summer, and the Knicks trading away Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, their two leading scorers, in November. The Knicks and Nets hung around in the playoff race until last month, with the Nets getting an All-Star season from Harris in his breakout campaign. But with the point guard sitting next to Carter on the bench, the Nets were hopeless in this one. There was plenty of sloppy play early. New York's Al Harrington threw a bounce pass a few feet from anyone on either team and out of bounds a few minutes in, and the Nets finished the first quarter with five baskets and three turnovers to fall behind 24-16. The play improved in the second quarter, when Robinson and Chris Wilcox each scored eight points to help the Knicks extend their lead to 52-40. New York continued to extend the lead in the second half, with Frank walking onto the floor in disgust after calling timeout midway through the fourth quarter with the Knicks flirting with a 30-point bulge. Ryan Anderson had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets. Fellow rookie Brook Lopez ended the season by joining Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber and Alonzo Mourning as the only first-year players with 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 150 blocks. "I just try to come out and play with as much energy as possible each game," Lopez said. "My coaches showed a lot of confidence in me. I just went out there and played. When I made a mistake they just told me to worry about the next play, keep going." Notes: Before the game, USA Basketball presented D'Antoni with a ring to commemorate the Americans' gold medal-winning performance in the 2008 Olympics. D'Antoni was an assistant coach on Mike Krzyzewski's staff. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, selected Wednesday to coach the U.S. women's team in the 2012 games in London, was at the game. ... F/C Chris Hunter, a former NBA D-Leaguer who signed with the Knicks on Tuesday, did not dress because of a sprained left ankle.
Tagged: Nets, Knicks

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