Despite homecoming, Turiaf feels the pressure

Danilo Gallinari had his turn to play in front of his hometown crowd in Milan. Now center Ronny Turiaf will get that opportunity when the Knicks face the Timberwolves on Wednesday in Paris. But Turiaf knows he has to step up his game, not just to impress his local countrymen (New York Post). That's because since the first preseason game, Mike D'Antoni can't stop gushing about Turiaf's backup Timofey Mozgov (New York Post). "I'm trying to hold down, curb my enthusiasm," D'Antoni said. "I think he can play. I don't see anything bad. He can shoot the ball, nice rhythm. He has a learning curve. But he's smart. He makes foul shots. His confidence is good. He's definitely not shying away, attacking the basket." Now D'Antoni says there is no lock at center and there will be "a revolving door" at that position depending on the matchups (New York Daily News). As the preseason continues, the battle for the starting center spot should come down to Mozgov and Anthony Randolph. While Randolph is the more athletic big and may see more minutes regardless because of his versatility, Mozgov could have the edge to start in order to help the Knicks establish their offense early with the pick-and-roll and secure an immediate rebounding presence. Initially, Randolph could thrive in a sixth- or seventh-man role as the team's offensive catalyst off the bench, which he did against Milano, scoring 16 points in 18 minutes. But because of his 6'11" frame, the Knicks will need him, as well as Amare Stoudemire, to grab more boards. Randolph only finished with four and Stoudemire had seven in the game, a small number considering his position (power forward) and the amount of points he scored (32).

Knicks notes:

  • One center D'Antoni has not discussed in Europe is Eddy Curry, who's now expected to be waived after February's trading deadline (New York Post).

  • Could this be the season Gallinari draws a comparison to Dirk Nowitzki? It's already happening (Newsday).

  • This season, the Knicks could be one of the league's deepest teams at shooting guard with Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike, Roger Mason, Bill Walker and Landry Fields. While Chandler is slated to start at the two, Azubuike, once healthy, will be breathing down his neck. But Azubuike is not too concerned with who starts because he knows he brings a lot to the team (KnickerBlogger.net) "I’m a good shooter, driver, and slasher," Azubuike said. "I feel like I can get to the hole and make plays. I play defense too. I take pride in stopping people and defending, so I play on both sides. And I love to run. So I fit the way D’Antoni likes to play."

  • Andy Rautins is already showing he's a team player, tweeting this from Paris: "Just finished practice.. Off to the Lourve & checking out the rest of Paris.. Pics to follow-- trying to share my experience with every1!"

  • Even though the Knicks didn't land LeBron James, they finished just behind the Bulls and the Heat with the third highest number of new ticket sales through the end of September (GackSports.com).

  • Commissioner David Stern met with the players' union last week and is optimistic that they will be able to reach a new labor agreement before a possible lockout next year. That would benefit the Knicks in free agency if they're trying to make a play for Carmelo Anthony or Tony Parker (The Associated Press).

  • Former Knicks center Chris Dudley is trying to become the first Republican in 23 years to capture the Oregon governor's seat (The Seattle Times).

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