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Knicks 108

Celtic 103

Maybe the Knicks aren't so wretched after all.

Showing their first signs of preseason life and getting a revival from prized prospect, Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks outgunned the Celtics, 108-103, last night at the Garden.

Gallinari had by far his best game of preseason with 18 points in 25 minutes off the bench, making 4 of 9 shots and willing himself to the line for 7 of 10 free throws. The Knicks shot 43.8 percent after shooting just 38 percent in the first five games.

"The guy's got a big heart and the bigger the lights, the bigger the stage, the better he will play," said coach Mike D'Antoni, who set lofty expectations for Gallinari before training camp.

Before anyone gets too giddy, the Celtics didn't play their Big 3 for the final 8:13.

"I'm not kidding myself," said D'Antoni, whose 4-2 Knicks finish the preseason tonight in Newark versus the Nets. "I'm not going home to celebrate. We have a lot of work to do but it's one big step forward."

D'Antoni has zeroed in on his starting lineup. Last night, he started Chris Duhon and Wilson Chandler in the backcourt, with Al Harrington, Jared Jeffries and David Lee up front. That should stick for the season opener in one week in Miami.

Harrington scored 20 points, hitting the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Nate Robinson came off the pine for 21 points and had the game-sealing steal and breakaway layup.

Duhon dished out eight assists, working the pick-and-roll smoothly with Lee (19 points, 16 rebounds).

"We're starting to hit some outside shots," Lee said. "Gallo, Al, Nate. We continue to push the pace and we're starting to get into regular-season shape now. So we're able to do it for a longer period. That's very important. With us being smaller and quicker than other teams, we can be really effective."

Gallinari missed his first two shots but did not come unglued. He had two physical exchanges with the Celtics' Paul Pierce, who pushed Gallinari after Gallinari elbowed him looking to shoot.

"He likes a physical game, I like a physical game," Gallinari said. "That's what Basketball is about. Every time I try to be aggressive. Sometimes it comes out better. Sometimes worse."


Larry Hughes did not play last night and is expected to be out of D'Antoni's nine-man rotation, which could mean controversy. Hughes made a huge admission that his erratic preseason (1 of 20 shooting) stems from not having a grasp of D'Antoni's system because D'Antoni gave him limited playing time.

Hughes said he hoped to play more this preseason. Team sources wonder if Hughes' game fits D'Antoni's free-wheeling style. Hughes seems to play better in a more structured offense.

"Coming over in the middle of the season, going through training camp and going through a preseason, this was the time I wanted to get a better grasp of the system and style," Hughes told The Post. "That's what I was focused on. It hasn't worked out that way. I'm still new to the system, still trying to figure out the ins and outs. I'm still kind of behind from how I normally know things as far as play calls."

Hughes was obtained at last February's trading deadline for Tim Thomas. D'Antoni's reserves last night were Gallinari, Robinson, Darko Milicic and Toney Douglas.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 22, 2009


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