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DASH OF CURRY MAY SPOIL BROTH THE NBA is supposed to be in an era dominated by guards and forwards, but much of the talk at the Garden last night centered - no pun intended - on big men in one way or the other.

On one side of the court, it was the presence of Eddy Curry that has the Knicks wondering if their highly paid but injury-prone center might be ready to return to action. On the other end of the court it was the absence of Greg Oden that had the Blazers wondering if he ever will remain healthy enough to warrant his No.1 selection in the 2007 draft.

While guards like Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant and forwards like LeBron James dominate the league, size in the NBA remains a coveted commodity, which is why the Knicks haven't given up on the 7-foot Curry even though the Knicks are showing signs of being a competitive Basketball team this year.

Their 93-84 victory over the Blazers last night was their fourth win in five games. Curry was in uniform on the Knicks bench as his teammates owned the game virtually from the start, leading 49-38 at halftime and 78-55 after three quarters. The Knicks (7-15) played harassing defense, made 13 3-pointers to Portland's 1, and pushed the ball up the court with success in winning their third straight game.

Coach Mike D'Antoni credited his eight-man rotation for simplifying things, a rotation that currently doesn't include Nate Robinson. Yet, D'Antoni confirmed Curry will be part of that rotation once he is healthy and fit enough to play consistent minutes.

Why mess up a good thing?

After playing in just three games all of last season, Curry has played in just four this season. He missed the first 10 games of the season because of a torn calf muscle suffered during his first day of training camp, and he missed the previous seven games before last night because of soreness in his left knee.

D'Antoni made no guarantees when Curry would play, which is fitting because there are no guarantees where Curry is concerned. We've learned that any optimism can be ruined after one practice, one game or one week with a sudden return to the injured list.

Right now the Knicks are on a roll. Adding Curry to the mix could threaten all the good chemistry.

But at least he's an option. The Blazers are now without Oden, who fractured his left knee cap last Saturday and is likely lost for the season.

The 7-footer from Ohio State missed his entire rookie year following micro-fracture surgery to his right knee and missed games last year with an injured foot and bone chips in his left knee.

The Blazers played much of last night's game as if they were still "psychologically hurting," D'Antoni said. They were out-hustled by the Knicks and a mild rally late in the fourth quarter never really took ROOT.

Dean Demopoulos, who took over the head-coaching duties last night for Blazers coach Nate McMillan, who was out after surgery to his Achilles, said Oden was a "significant force" that will be missed.

"He was going great," Demopoulos said. "It's a huge hole to fill."

The Knicks hope Curry will soon be going great. OK, they'll settle for decent. The ultimate goal would be for Curry to play well enough to persuade a team to trade for him and his $11 million contract next year. At the very least, his presence would ease the burden on David Lee, who at 6-foot-9 should be playing forward instead of center.

Until then the Knicks can only hope their "franchise" center will make some type of contribution without spoiling all the good karma created in recent weeks. That's more than the Blazers can hope for.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 9, 2009


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