(the wrong David Lee. The wrong David Roth, too)

Despite the backcourt of Dwayne Wade and Gary Payton combining for 28 first half points, the Knicks — hoping to win consecutive games for the first time in ’06/07 — lead the Heat, 53-49 at the half. David Lee and Channing Frye are a combined 8 for 11 from the field, while Lee and Quentin Richardson have 12 rebounds between them.

There’s no Shaquille O’Neal fighting for those boards tonight, nor will there be for much of the season. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Windermere reports that O’Neal is suffering from a flap tear in the articular cartilage of his left knee.

Pat Riley said it has been difficult getting a read on his team due to the lack of continuity, a concern that will continue.

“If you stop and think about last year and not having Shaquille at the beginning for (20) games or whatever it was, it changes everything you do,” Riley said. “You start looking at things a lot different and how you play. Obviously you don’t have the power post-up game.”

The goal now, Riley said, is to keep the burden from becoming oppressive for guard Dwyane Wade, who shot 1 of 6 in Friday’s first quarter.

“A lot of it has landed on Dwyane’s shoulders and we’re trying to remedy that as much as we can,” Riley said.

With O’Neal still out and with Williams with working his way back into the rotation, Alonzo Mourning again started at center and Gary Payton opened at point guard.

While the Austin Toros have suffered the indignity of watching no. 1 draft pick Darius Washington Jr. opt for a contract in Italy, the 2nd year NBDL club have added a local fave in the form of Brad Buckman, the Longhorns power forward whose tenure with Olimpia Larissa ended before it started after a failed drug test.

Buckman’s alma mater survived a hot one with St. Johns tonight, winning 77-76 at MSG. Texas freshman Kevin Durant (above, left) scored 29 points, collected 10 rebounds, and lost all credibility when calling the Red Storm “a very good team” during a postgame interview.

Nice work by The Feed, pointing out the terrific work Michael Jordan is doing for the community in Philadelphia. Granted, it’s a community of people who profit from persons who have a gambling problem.

Joey from Straight Bangin’ would like to see T-Mac take it to the hole.

Tracy McGrady needs: a) better hair; b) to stop shooting so many jump shots. Houston is winning with Yao emerging and Alston stepping up, so I am not trying to sound all that critical of the Select List captain and future Straight Bangin’ Hall of Fame member. If this is how Houston can consistently win, so be it. But every time I watch the Rockets, I feel like McGrady is biding his time and passively shooting from the perimeter. Until last year, when he started driving more in crucial situations, LeBron James pissed me off for the same reason–both guys can get to the rim on just about anyone, and yet they’re taking fadeaways? I’ve always said that this different mentality, common to McGrady and James, and in stark contrast to the attack-at-all-times approach of Kobe and Wade is what rendered TMac and LeBron less effective. I am ready to remove that label from LeBron, but I am still not sold on Tracy. I’d like to see him attacking the rim for four quarters, especially since the guy finishes with his left so well.