Knicks to start Timofey Mozgov

Updated: February 9, 2011, 9:55 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks center Timofey Mozgov will get his second straight start Wednesday night when the Knicks host the Los Angeles Clippers, coach Mike D'Antoni said on Tuesday.

Mozgov will be matched up against Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, who threw down one of the league's top dunks this season when he skied over Mozgov the last time the Knicks and Clippers played on Nov. 20.

He will start in place of Ronny Turiaf, who sat out of practice on Tuesday and will likely be sidelined against the Clippers with a sprained right ankle. He is officially listed as doubtful.

Mozgov has played significant minutes in the past four games following a streak in which he spent 10 straight games on the bench.

The Russian rookie was in the lineup against Detroit on Jan. 30 because the Knicks were without Wilson Chandler (calf) and Shawne Williams (suspension).

He had a breakout performance against the Pistons, setting career-highs with 23 points and 14 rebounds in 40 minutes played.

Mozgov had just four points in the Knicks' next game against Dallas but proved valuable against Philadelphia with nine points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes while helping to guard Elton Brand.

He then started in the Knicks' 117-103 win over the 76ers on Sunday, pulling down eight rebounds and scoring three points in 30 minutes while helping to limit Brand.

"Timmy and Amare [Stoudemire] will just have to do a good job inside. [The Clippers are] the No. 1 team at points at the rim," D'Antoni said. "We'll just have to watch for lobs. [Griffin will] get a couple dunks and they'll be spectacular. He's a good player."

Mozgov remembers Griffin's dunk in late November well. But he believes that he is a different player than the one who made the wrong end of the highlight reel then.

"Now I feel really, really much more confident," Mozgov said on Tuesday. "I've had some time to improve."

Turiaf received treatment on Monday but sat out Tuesday's scrimmage and has yet to cut or sprint on his right ankle.

He injured the ankle in the third quarter of the Knicks' loss to Philadelphia on Friday night.

The fifth-year pro missed a game last month with a contused right hip and missed seven games earlier this season with left knee injuries.

Also on Tuesday, Stoudemire sat out of contact drills as a precaution to protect his injured knees.

It is common practice for the Knicks to withhold Stoudemire from practices between games. Stoudemire suffered a right knee sprain on Jan. 28 against Atlanta. He then suffered an injury to his left knee two nights later against the Mavericks.

The Knicks have been cautious with Stoudemire's knees.

The All-Star starter underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee in late 2005. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in April 2006.

"We've just got to be smart about it," D'Antoni said of keeping Stoudemire fresh. "There will be times that he really needs to practice and there will be times that we'll be playing a lot of games and we can rest him a little bit."

Reserve center Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph also missed practice on Tuesday due to personal reasons.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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