TODAY'S PAPER
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Broken Clouds 53° Good Afternoon
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Nate not on the trip

The Knicks shoot-around here in Chicago was a lot quieter than usual and it wasn't just because of the uneasiness before Thursday's trade deadline. Slam Dunk champion Nate Robinson is not with the team due to what the team is calling "flu-like symptoms" which also caused Robinson to miss Monday's practice.

Obviously everyone's skepticism is heightened by Robinson's absence, especially with the knowledge that the Boston Celtics, as we reported in today's Newsday, are still very interested in acquiring him before the deadline. But let's also keep in mind that Robinson had a whirlwind weekend in Dallas, which included the Slam Dunk contest and running into countless people with plenty of germs to share.

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* - Talked to Danilo Gallinari, who seemed bummed about his meager 15-point showing in the Three-Point Shootout. He didn't blame the forearm issue -- it's still lingering, by the way, but not as bad as it was last week -- as much as he said the format of the contest isn't suited for the way he likes to shoot. "You can't follow the shot to the rim," he said. The time limit forces shooters to get off shots in a rapid-fire style and Gallo's preference is to watch each ball splash through, perhaps to gauge the next attempt.

The good news is that contest is just a novelty. And the forearm issue aside, it's time for the 21-year-old to be more assertive on offense in these final 31 games. Even in the brutal Rookie Challenge game he was mostly a spectator because there was very little emphasis on sharing the ball. Gallinari needs to work to get himself open rather than stand in a spot as merely an outlet option.

* - Hard to believe our favorite seamheads are already back to work. And Fixer buddy Erik Boland, the big star on Newsday's Yankees beat, filed a blog this morning about C.C. Sabathia. Boland, an Ohio native (and seemingly also an AT&T spokesman), asked Sabathia when the recruiting pitch begins for LeBron James.

"In the summertime," Sabathia said with a smile. "I'm sure he'll be up here in the summer and come to a couple of games, so it'll start then."

New York Sports