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Knicks 115

Nets 107

ALBANY - If Danilo Gallinari is to be the featured guy in the Knicks' offense - as coach Mike D'Antoni one day hopes - it was not apparent in yesterday's preseason opener at Times Union Center.

Though three Knicks topped the 20-point mark - Al Harrington (23 points, 9 of 11), David Lee (20 points, 9 boards) and Wilson Chandler (21 points) - in their 115-107 victory over the Nets , Gallinari didn't hit double figures, taking just six shots in 26 minutes.

In fact, Gallinari wasn't close to being the best 2008 lottery pick on the floor. That honor belonged to Nets center Brook Lopez, selected four spots later at No. 10, tearing it up for 19 first-half points before being rested for most of the second half.

Coming off the bench, Gallinari was 2 of 6 - hitting consecutive 3-pointers - and finished with 9 points - just two coming in the second half. He even threw up an uncharacteristic airball on an open trey.

"The second half, he just didn't have legs," D'Antoni said.

Indeed, Gallinari struggled during Camp Saratoga with his wind, and needs to improve his stamina as he takes part in his first real NBA training camp. He hadn't played in a game since March 15 in Cleveland, where he shut it down to undergo back surgery.

The best shooter D'Antoni has ever seen probably doesn't shoot enough. Gallinari is unselfish - almost too unselfish - and recorded four assists. He always is willing to move the ball rather than force things. Moments after he entered the game midway through the first, Gallinari ripped down an offensive rebound and was fouled. But often he fades from view.

D'Antoni isn't worried about Gallinari's shot attempts, saying, "We'll get it that way."

"Every practice we are trying to build our chemistry," Gallinari said. "Then the shots will come. It may mean more shots; in some games not."

One value to Gallinari's presence is as a decoy on the wing, even when he is not shooting. He allowed the lane to be free for a handful of power drives by Lee yesterday.

"Not only does he spread the floor but he made a couple of good passes," Lee said. "He's not a ball stopper. He's going to be a huge part of our success."

After being pulled from the starting lineup for the preseason opener in favor of Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries, Gallinari and Chandler started the second half, which seems the Italian Stallion's preference.

"That's what we were showing most of training camp," Gallinari said. "We really know each other. We know what we do."

Gallinari and Chandler are the young studs the Knicks are banking on to convince LeBron James to join them come July. Chandler, coming off offseason ankle surgery, had a solid debut, shooting 7 of 13, scoring on drives and 3-pointers (3 of 6) and probably will earn the starting shooting-guard spot over Hughes.

"I'm not where I want it to be, I got to get back into rhythm," said Chandler, who rehabbed all summer from surgery.


Darko Milicic (1 of 4 in 8:34) left the game in the second quarter, bothered by a bruised left knee. He said he woke up yesterday morning with knee pain. He said there's a possibility of having an MRI.

"It's nothing major, I think there's bruise inside, a weak feeling on the side of the knee," Milicic said.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 6, 2009


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