PHILADELPHIA — Move along, then. Nothing to see here. Not that there was much of a crowd to shoo away from the Knicks’ penultimate preseason game, just 6,473 rattling around the Philadelphia 76ers’ oft-renamed home arena for Philadelphia’s 118-91 victory.
With one more exhibition to go tomorrow before Wednesday’s NBA season opener in Toronto, the Knicks last night played without 60 percent of their starting lineup. Amar’e Stoudemire was given the night off while both Danilo Gallinari (sore wrist) and Wilson Chandler (troublesome calf) sat out the game with minor injuries.
All should be available by the end of the week, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said, though Gallinari wasn’t sure whether the right (shooting) wrist he hurt in a fall during Tuesday night’s game against the Nets would be X-rayed today. “We haven’t talked about that yet,” Gallinari said. “We’ll see how it feels. It’s not broken.”
The Knicks, on the other hand, were. While Stoudemire cut an impressive figure on the bench — black blazer, gold tie, gray slacks — his reinforcements did not look particularly good. Fill-in starters Toney Douglas, Bill Walker and Anthony Randolph shot a combined 10-for-36 from the field and totaled 11 rebounds.
From early shades of mediocrity, the Knicks faded badly at the start of the second half, missing their first 14 field-goal attempts while Philadelphia’s lead ballooned to as many as 33 points. The Knicks were outshot, 50.4 to 34.9 percent and outrebounded 54-38, perhaps a function of the team’s fourth game in five nights. “I hope so,” D’Antoni said. The fatigue was “understandable,” and he was hopeful that “we can get our guys back for a better dress rehearsal .” D’Antoni did note the play of Stanford rookie Landry Fields, who scored 15 points (6-for-12 from the field) and took three rebounds coming off the bench to possibly work his way into the regular rotation.
Stoudemire called his night off “no problem for me” and dismissed any thought of missed opportunity in the search of sports’ mysterious “chemistry.”
The idea, Stoudemire said, was for him to “rest on back-to-backs and get ready for the regular season. We actually have gotten better, and I think the game was an indication. Players understand what the coach’s philosophy is. Chemistry won’t be a problem. We’ll figure it out in practice.”
Not today, though. No practice scheduled.