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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Turiaf to start in at center in Game 1

By Chris Sheridan

BOSTON -- The news of the night, for tonight, is that Amare Stoudemire is playing.

But coach Mike D'Antoni also announced Wednesday that Ronny Turiaf will be his starting center for Game 1 of the playoffs Sunday night, when the Boston Celtics expect to have Shaquille O'Neal available.

"Because I think we play better with Ronny on the floor. That would be the reason: We’re  a better team," D'Antoni said.

Turiaf has started 20 games for the Knicks, including Tuesday night's loss to the Chicago Bulls. But Shelden Williams was the starter in the previous three previous games against Philadelphia, Indiana and New Jersey, and Jared Jeffries has made nine starts.

All three centers are expected to see playing time against the Celtics, depending on matchups. Shaquille O'Neal has missed 44 games this season and will have played a total of only five minutes since Feb. 1 by the time Game 1 arrives at 7 p.m. EDT Sunday, and Jermaine O'Neal missed 36 consecutive games with a sore left knee before returning March 31. Nenad Krstic has started 19 games since being acquired in the trade deadline deal with Oklahoma City that also brought Jeff Green to Boston and sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder.