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It's Douglas' turn at point guard for Knicks

DALLAS - Toney Douglas made his third start of the season - and first since Nov. 18 - last night against Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks. Only four games ago, the rookie point guard was not even in the rotation, but his ability to push the tempo and play relentless defense earned him another look.

D'Antoni, who grumbled about the poor collective effort the Knicks gave in the first half of Friday's loss in Memphis, was pleased with how Douglas brought a competitive intensity to the second half and played a key role as the Knicks cut a 29-point deficit late in the third quarter to five in the final minute of the game.

At this point in the season, it's a wonder D'Antoni didn't give minutes to Douglas sooner. It seems Sergio Rodriguez has proved he isn't quite a starter, and incumbent Chris Duhon played last night for the first time since Feb. 20. So D'Antoni seemed to suggest before last night's game that the job could be Douglas' through the rest of the season.

"We're looking at different people and we're giving a chance to him now," Mike D'Antoni said. "He deserves it. He could go the whole time."

Knicks fixIn his continued quest to defend the opposing team's top players, Danilo Gallinari matched up against the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, whom the young Italian has most often been compared to potentialwise . . . Eddy Curry sat out again with right calf soreness . . . Mavericks guard J.J. Barea returned to action from a sprained left ankle. He will be a restricted free agent this summer and, as such, a possible Knicks target.

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