Larry Hughes went through his pregame workout last night in Oklahoma City with a coffee stirrer sticking out of his mouth. Hughes' frustration with being taken out of the rotation is one thing but in front of teammates, fans and with Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni watching from the team bench, he displayed a disappointing lack of professionalism for an 11-year veteran.

I will say this, however: Hughes had been a reason why the Knicks were able to turn things around in December. What impressed me the most about his play before the groin injury was that he didn't try to be a scorer as much as he focused on moving the ball. With Nate Robinson benched, Hughes was essentially a backup point guard and a reliable one. With Robinson playing again -- while his scoring and energy are important -- the Knicks sorely lack a legitimate backup point guard to spell Chris Duhon.

D'Antoni won't leave Robinson on the floor as the primary ball-handler for too long of a time, mainly because Nate struggles when he has to run the offense. Some time before the Feb. 18 trade deadline, the Knicks either need to find a legit point guard (starter or backup) that can be reliable enough to run the offense or find minutes for Hughes so get back into that role.

Nate got himself back in good graces by working his butt off in pregame workouts and maintaining a professional appearance throughout the 14-game benching. Hughes didn't endear himself with the coffee stirrer, but regardless of how he feels about D'Antoni, it's a bad reflection on him.

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* - Too often the blame is put on the guards for not passing the ball to Danilo Gallinari. But if you watched his 0-for-7 night against the Thunder, you could see that it was Gallinari who wasn't making himself available as an option.

Some of it is effort on his part. But the other part was that he was guarded by another young phenom who, in his third season, is showing signs of being an MVP candidate in the very near future.

"He was so active on defense," Gallinari said of Kevin Durant, who not only had 30 points in Oklahoma City's blowout win over the Knicks, he also held Gallinari scoreless. "Everybody knows him for his offense . . . he can score on everybody. But, I mean, he was playing defense on me and he was ready on any move I was making. He was ready on my cut, he was ready on my screen. He was always there contensing my shots. He can play defense, too."

Gallinari was most stunned by a block Durant made on a three-point attempt early in the third quarter. At 6-11 with a picture-perfect high release, Gallo's shot seemed to be unblockable.

"Kevin Durant is so long, so long," Gallinari said. "He actually was helping on the other side, on the other man. I was completely free. I mean, it was a great block."

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Asked if he could remember the last time he had his jumper blocked, Gallinari said he couldn't. It definitely hadn't happened at the NBA level.

"Always a first time," he said.

* - Sports Illustrated released the results of a new poll that asked NBA players who was the league's biggest trash talker. Super-intense Kevin Garnett took first place by a landslide of 62 percent out of 173 NBA players polled. Kobe Bryant (7%) was second, followed by Rasheed Wallace (5%). Fourth on the list was Nate Robinson (3%), who tied with Paul Pierce.