GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Knicks headed to San Antonio Tuesday for the start of a five-game road trip with Eddy Curry and Toney Douglas in and Tracy McGrady temporarily out.
Curry is expected to make his first appearance since Dec. 17 Wednesday when the Knicks visit the Spurs. Coach Mike D'Antoni sounded as if he is going to make more of an effort to work Curry into the Knicks' game plan than he did when the big man made seven cameo appearances in November and December before undergoing left knee surgery on Jan. 18.
"I do want to play him and keep ramping up the minutes a little bit," D'Antoni said. "But I would imagine the first week or so is going to be kind of rocky and we'll go from there."
Curry has an $11.2-million player option for next season. So the Knicks have 19 games to see if he can fit into the D'Antoni system or if 2010-11 will be another lost season before he comes off the team's books.
"Just like anything else, you play well, I don't know a system you can't fit into," D'Antoni said. "We'd like to post him up. He can run the floor a little bit. It's not like we're flying up and down the floor, so I think it's perfect for him. We'll try to get him the ball a little bit better than we did the last time he came in and just see if we can integrate him well and get his confidence up and just get all of the rust off of him."
Said Curry: "It's all about me trying to get some kind of rhythm, trying to get the guys used to me, trying to show the coach what I can do. If I can go out there and accomplish that, it's a successful last stretch of games."
Douglas will also get a chance to show D'Antoni what he can do. The rookie guard scored 11 points in 23:34 in Monday's 99-98 win over Atlanta; he brought quickness and energy but also made a crucial turnover with 7.9 seconds to go that could have cost the Knicks the game.
"I thought the first half he didn't play very well," D'Antoni said. "The second half, he seemed to get more confidence. You do see his quickness and he can harass some defensively, although he's all over the place defensively. If we can hone that in and get him to make good decisions, he has the speed and the shot-makingness to be pretty good. He's just got a ways to go though. We're in a position where we can give him 19 games of pretty good time and see what he can do."
Douglas will see more time if McGrady is unable to return from the body fatigue that forced him to sit out Monday. D'Antoni said he did not know if McGrady would be able to play Wednesday, but it didn't seem likely.