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ICE-COLD HUGHES LOOKS TO BENEFIT FROM CHARITY GAME If Larry Hughes keeps shooting this way, he'll be playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv next season.

Entering today's 1 p.m. Garden charity match against the Israeli team, Hughes is shooting 0-for-17 and playing his way out of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's projected nine-man rotation.

"It's preseason," said Hughes, 0-for-6 on 3-pointers. "I'm a scorer in this league and I don't have a problem with putting the ball into the basket. I'm playing limited minutes and trying to get in a rhythm. I think it will come. In practice, I shoot the ball well."

Hughes is averaging 16.3 minutes. "I've been in this league a long time," Hughes said. "I've proven I can put the ball in the basket. It's not a real concern for me now."

"He's in and out," D'Antoni said. "It's tough for him to get a real good feel. He doesn't quite know where he fits. He's . . . playing a lot with the rookies. It messes him up a bit."

D'Antoni said he knows nothing about the Maccabi roster, but Knicks fans - and the coach - will be very familiar with one player, 6-foot-11 Polish forward Maciej Lampe, drafted as the first pick of the second round in 2003 by former Knicks general manager Scott Layden.

Lampe, 24, was projected as a potential lottery pick and Knicks fans at the Garden's Theatre chanted "Lam-pe" before Layden made the popular selection.

Lampe, however, never got into a Knicks regular-season game. When Isiah Thomas was hired, he took a disliking toward Lampe and shipped him to D'Antoni's Suns in the deal for Stephon Marbury. There, Lampe enjoyed his finest stint. But D'Antoni eventually traded Lampe to New Orleans and he has played overseas since 2006.

"It was the best time of my career," Lampe said recently. "There was a great atmosphere and Mike D'Antoni had European Basketball roots and he was good for me. It hurt me when I was traded to New Orleans."

D'Antoni, playing for AC Milan, beat Maccabi to win two European championships. "That country gets real jazzed for their Basketball," D'Antoni said.

Proceeds from today's game go to Migdal Ohr, the Israeli orphanage. The game wasn't on the preseason package, as Migdal Ohr sold all tickets. A pro-Maccabi crowd is expected, just like two years ago, when the Garden resonated with "Macc-a-bi" chants during the Knicks' 112-85 victory.

"It's strange at the Garden, not everyone cheering for the Knicks ," David Lee said. "It should be a fun game."


Maccabi did not practice yesterday. Team policy is to not work on the Sabbath. . . . Nate Robinson will start again at shooting guard for the Knicks , with D'Antoni feeling the club played quicker from the outset with Robinson at that spot. Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari will both come off the bench. . . . Al Harrington, who rested his knee Friday vs. the Nets, participated in yesterday's open practice at Fordham and will play today.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 21, 2009


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