The Knicks held practice this morning still uncertain of Danilo Gallinari's immediate future. Gallinari, whose knee got bent in an unfavorable direction yesterday, will get his MRI results this evening. The assumption for now is that, whether or not the knee is seriously injured, Gallo will sit tomorrow against the Spurs. Ronny Turiaf will likely get the start in his stead, which changes the complexion of the Knick starting lineup quite a bit. Steve Adamek likes the move (regardless of Gallo's status, it seems), and I tend to agree:
Our thinking: The Knicks’ defense looked awfully sturdy and solid in the more than nine minutes Stoudemire and Turiaf spent together on the floor in Sunday’s final quarter.
It clogged up the inside, with Turiaf (six blocks overall) and Stoudemire (two) giving the Knicks better interior defense than they’ve had in awhile. Which lately has been virtually none, especially when Stoudemire picks up an early foul and goes soft to avoid a second.
That might not happen out of the box if it’s Turiaf, and not Stoudemire, starting out on the opposition’s big man, e.g. Dwight Howard.
The foul issue is key here. Turiaf adds a bit of shot-blocking and rebounding, which takes some of that burden off Amar'e Stoudemire's shoulders. If Amar'e has help protecting the rim, then he's less liable to pick up those dreaded two early fouls. Against the Spurs, who feature DeJuan Blair and Tim Duncan, that could be crucial.
Meanwhile, I don't anticipate Gallo's potential absence affecting D'Antoni's bench rotation as much as one might expect (or hope). Instead of liberating Anthony Randolph or Timofey Mozgov, D'Antoni will probably just spread those extra wing minutes between Shawne Williams and Bill Walker. As Adamek mentions, Turiaf and Stoudemire can alternate periods of rest, with Chandler moving up to the four when one of the bigs has to sit. If Gallinari does miss time and this lineup shows some measure of success, it'll be interesting to see D'Antoni's next move. Might the coach stick with Turiaf in the starting five and move Chandler (or even Gallinari) back into a sixth man slot?
We'll update later once Gallo's MRI results have been revealed. Fingers crossed, y'all. If you see a rooster on the street today, give it some snacks or spare change or something.