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Only preseason, and Hill is already quenching fires

Looks like coach Brian Hill already has had an Orlando flashback.

After his Vancouver Grizzlies lost by 30 to Phoenix last week, rookie point guard Antonio Daniels, counting his NBA experience in minutes, questioned the team's togetherness."We have to change a lot," Daniels said. "We have to become more unified on and off the court."

And forward Roy Rogers pulled the trigger on some leftover anger from last season when he added: "Youth had nothing to do with us losing by 30. That was a lackluster effort, and if guys don't understand that, I'm on the wrong team. We're a better team than last year. Take that back. We have better players. The team part has yet to be developed."

To which Hill, dumped in a player revolt last season, said: "If somebody has to say something about this team from a negative standpoint, it will be me. It will not be one of the players."

Hill might want to watch for team meetings.

Meanwhile, back in Orlando, who figured the loss of Dennis Scott would hurt? But beyond Anfernee Hardaway, the Magic just can't score, averaging 88 points a game in the exhibition season. Said coach Chuck Daly: "It's a problem we'll have to address, but I don't sense any easy solution. Somebody has to make a shot, and we're not making them. I'm not sure this won't be a persistent problem all year long."

One problem is Nick Anderson. Moved to small forward with Hardaway installed at shooting guard, Anderson is continuing his slump from last season, shooting 30.5 percent in the first six exhibition games. He hadn't attempted one free throw and had drawn Daly's wrath for lax play on defense.

"I don't know what it's all about," Daly said. "Either you're a basketball player or you're not. He's getting every opportunity to perform."

Anderson, trying contact lenses this season, isn't fighting Daly.

"I figure he wants the best for me. People who don't know this game take it out of context and say, `Well, he doesn't think too much of Nick Anderson.' He's going to challenge me."

The Knicks might not want to book Fifth Avenue for that parade just yet. Sure, they made a good deal last week in swapping a bench full of litter for serviceable Chris Mills, who can shoot some, long a Knicks deficiency.

But who's going to get him the ball?

The Knicks lost four of their first six in the exhibition season and still appear to be susceptible to ballhandling mistakes.

They beat Boston last week despite 31 turnovers. They're averaging more than 20 a game and had more turnovers than assists through six games. Allan Houston, after off-season wrist surgery, had eight turnovers against Boston, and point guards Chris Childs and Charlie Ward combined for 10. And no, it wasn't Rick Pitino's famed pressing.

Patrick Ewing is already starting to take practices off to rest his knees, John Starks has feuded with coach Jeff Van Gundy, and Larry Johnson may lose his starting job to Mills before long.

"We never had a preseason where we played like this," said forward Charles Oakley. "The teams we've played, we should have beaten. How long can you keep making excuses about injuries? We've got to take care of the ball better. We're acting like we're a new team."

The Spurs are talking about dealing Will Perdue again. With the quick development of Tim Duncan, who's already outplaying David Robinson, they think they're a scorer away from getting to the Finals. . . . With the season opening Friday, the biggest names available are Cedric Ceballos in Phoenix and Mitch Richmond in Sacramento. There's talk the Lakers might try to move Eddie Jones for Richmond. . . . The Nuggets are expected to release point guard Sherman Douglas, whom they just got from Cleveland for Greg Graham. Why the deal? The Nuggets had to take Graham from Seattle to get rid of Dale Ellis. Douglas has just one year left on his contract and Graham has two.