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News » DARKO DAYS ON BENCH


DARKO DAYS ON BENCH


DARKO DAYS ON BENCHp. 124 PDF

There have been no "Free Darko" signs in the Garden stands, but the 7-foot Serbian center realizes he is trapped in coach Mike D'Antoni's doghouse with no way out.

In an interview with The Post, Darko Milicic sounded bitter about his status as the franchise readjusted their priorities toward making center Eddy Curry viable and left him in the dust. Milicic has been a DNP in eight of the last nine games, logging four minutes in the contest he played.

"I already had enough bad experiences in the NBA, so I'm not going to cry about it," Milicic said. "If he don't play me, he don't play me. I'm here."

Milicic got his hackles up when asked if he thinks he will return if he excels in practice.

"The NBA is not like that," Milicic said. "That's what I learned in Detroit. You can be bleeping Michael Jordan in practice, you're still not going to play in the game. They used to tell me in Detroit, show me in practice what I can do. I showed and showed. But then I didn't play. Practice is practice. The game is the game. Coach has his guys he wants to play he thinks is going to make this team a winning team."

Problem is, the Knicks (3-13) aren't winning and Curry is hurt again, his comeback stalled after four games.

Curry missed the final two games of the 0-3 Western trip because of a sore left knee. The Knicks return home to face the Magic tonight at the Garden at 6:00 and Curry is questionable.

Orlando is one of Milicic's former teams and where he had his best seasons.

"I needed some time to adjust to this kind of offense running up and down and just shooting," said Milicic, whom the Knicks obtained on draft night for Quentin Richardson. "I was trying to adjust and I was trying to do my best."

D'Antoni gave up very quickly on Milicic after seven games and has appeared to move on because Milicic still didn't play when Curry was out. It wasn't so long ago D'Antoni raved about Milicic during training camp in Saratoga, that he moved his feet much better on defense than he thought.

D'Antoni said he expected Milicic to be a shot-blocking force that would fill a gaping need. Defense was on D'Antoni's brain, but when he gave up on the former No. 2 pick in the draft, he claimed he wanted to speed up the offense. Milicic was tentative and couldn't make a jumper.

Milicic admits his game might not be suited for speedball.

"This kind of offense would be good for me the first year in the league, not as much now," Milicic said.

During the Knicks' 128-125 loss to the Nuggets on Friday, Denver coach George Karl could be overheard telling point guard Ty Lawson: "They haven no shot blocker. Take it to them."

When Curry lost a significant amount of weight during his banishment from the team early in training camp, Knicks team president Donnie Walsh felt it paramount to prioritize Curry because of their respective contracts.

Milicic's contract expires after the season, and he might consider finishing his career in Europe. Curry's pact extends to 2011. The goal is to either make Curry tradable so as to clear more cap room to sign two marquee free agents in 2010 or have him play at a high-enough level that he becomes a lure to free agents.

Don't hold your breath. On the three-game Western trip, Curry played just the first half vs. the Lakers when he reinjured the knee.

"Nate tripped me and I came down on it wrong," Curry said.

The same left knee forced him out of all but three games last season.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 2, 2009

 

 
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