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 Knicks coach to use tour to try out new tactics

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Join date : 2010-06-28
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PostSubject: Knicks coach to use tour to try out new tactics   Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:04 am

MILAN(AP) -- New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni hopes to use their European tour to get his side used to a faster style of play.

The Knicks play Olimpia Milano in Milan on Sunday then travel to Paris to meet the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday in another preseason game.

"If we want to play with 11 guys, we have to play at a high pace. that is what we have to set in rotation," D'Antoni said on Saturday.

"It is something we will have to try and if we can't we will have to pull it back."

The Knicks have endured nine consecutive losing seasons, although the last two have shown signs of improvement.

"We need a bit of maturity and to develop a bit more," D'Antoni said. "We need a bit more personality, but they are young and enthusiastic."

The coach is back on familiar territory in Milan. As a player, D'Antoni was the star point guard in a Milano team that won five Italian championships and two Euroleague titles in two years.

However, 1996 was the last time Milano won the Italian title, but the team has been runner-up in the last two seasons.

"They have aspirations for the Italian championship, so it should be a good game," D'Antoni said. "They have Oleksij Pecerov, who played at the Minnesota Timberwolves and he's a good shooter."

D'Antoni isn't the only person making an emotional return to Milan. Forward Danilo Gallinari joined the Knicks from Milano, and his father Vittorio was an ex-teammate of D'Antoni's.

It is the first time that Gallinari has faced Milano since moving to the NBA in 2008.

"I'm excited and can't wait to play the game," Gallinari said. "It is our first game together which is good for us to see how we are ahead of the new season.

"It is the best team in the league," he said. "It has been to the final for the past two years and this year I think the guys will get to the final and win."

Gallinari is one of three Italians in the NBA. The others were Marco Bargnani of Toronto Raptors and Andrea Belinelli of the New Orleans Hornets.

Gallinari improved in his second season to finish with an average of 15.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, with a season high of 31 points against Boston on April. 6.

"He's into his second year in the NBA now and he needed to get bigger because when he arrived he was very skinny," D'Antoni said. "Now he's maturing and he needs to improve some more. He has all the attributes, both physical and mental."
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