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Knicks may have to fill Marbury's spot at starting point guard

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Isiah Thomas refused to say who would
start at point guard for the Knicks on Wednesday at New Jersey if
Stephon Marbury hasn't returned to the team following his father's
death.

Don Marbury Sr. died Sunday night during the Knicks' home loss
to Phoenix. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Brooklyn, and
the Knicks prepared Tuesday to play without their usual starter.

"We don't know that as of yet, but we'll wait and see what
happens," Thomas said after practice. "We definitely miss him and
we grieve with he and his family. He's in our thoughts and in our
prayers and today we had a solid practice and tried to do some
things just in case he's not here."

Mardy Collins or Nate Robinson would seem the likely options,
though neither is a particularly good one. Collins was inactive
Sunday because of a sprained left ankle and Thomas didn't use him
in any of the previous four games.

Robinson didn't play in the last two games, though Thomas
continues to say that was only because of matchup problems the
5-foot-9 guard faced. That would seemingly still be a problem
against the Nets' Jason Kidd.

Though he temporarily removed Marbury from the starting lineup
earlier this season, Thomas realizes his importance to the Knicks.

"A lot of what we do revolves around him, the point guard,"
Thomas said. "You take it out of bounds, you give it to him. The
leadership, the trust, the play-calling, a lot of that comes from
the point guard position. It's the most critical position in the
game."