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FOR STARTERS, KNICKS WAIT ON GALLINARI BOSTON - During Wednesday's scrimmages, Danilo Gallinari took a fastbreak pass on a breakaway and leapt for a slam dunk. It clanged off the rim after he failed to get proper elevation.

Mike D'Antoni notices the 6-11 Italian Stallion is not yet in "NBA shape"' as the Knicks prepare for tonight's second preseason game vs. the Celtics at Boston Garden.

Whether Gallinari is the starter when the Knicks open their season Oct. 28 in Miami is as uncertain as LeBron James' residence next October.

"I think his legs are still a little wobbly," D'Antoni said. "NBA shape is the best shape of your life, even at age 21. He's not there yet."

D'Antoni will not announce his starting lineup until this morning's shootaround, not wanting to create more controversy regarding Gallinari's status. Gallinari did not start in the preseason opener vs. the Nets and had a quiet outing - 9 points, 2 of 6 from the field.

D'Antoni said the lineup will look different tonight and defensive center Jared Jeffries is expected to be removed for either Gallinari or Wilson Chandler. That would move David Lee back to center as D'Antoni is still groping for an opening-night lineup.

"They all think they should start," D'Antoni said. "I don't mind that. Sometimes you want defense a little more to start and more scoring off the bench."'

"Doesn't matter," Gallinari said tersely.

Either way, the Knicks are in a tough spot against the retooled Celtics, who have Kevin Garnett healthy and added experienced Rasheed Wallace. Tonight's matchup arguably is the East's worst team vs. the best.

D'Antoni admitted the Celtics have the East's best roster, no insult to King James. "Boston added a piece that would fit in well," D'Antoni said. "It's safe to say they'll be one of the top 3. Whether they're the best or not, there's injuries. I would say they were the best last year until Garnett went down."

D'Antoni doesn't view this as a statement game, any different than beating the moribund Nets.

"It's too early," D'Antoni said. "It's too early to talk to them about the Celtics. It's more about us. ''


D'Antoni won't have to deal with nemesis Stephon Marbury tonight. According to a source, the Celtics offered Marbury a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1.3M to return and he rejected it, feeling he would get more. Marbury wanted to keep shopping, but with the economy, he has no NBA job.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 10, 2009


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