Trailing the Pacers 2-1 in their second-round series, the Knicks need all the good news they can get. This is not it. Tina Cervasio of MSG Network:
If Shumpert can’t play tonight, who starts in his place?
Shumpert started the final 45 games of the regular season and every playoff game after returning from surgery to the same knee. Before that, Ronnie Brewer started, but he has since been traded to the Thunder.
Chris Copeland started New York’s first game of the postseason when Pablo Prigioni was out with a sprained ankle, but Copeland played just the final minute of Game 3 against the Pacers and had three DNP-CDs against the Pacers.
J.R. Smith has played the Knicks’ third-most minutes per game in the playoffs, but he hasn’t started a game all season. Mike Woodson clearly prefers to bring the Sixth Man of the Year off the bench.
Quentin Richardson is also on the roster.
Woodson is such a mad scientist with his starting lineups, nearly any solution is possible. Because Carmelo Anthony can play small forward rather than power forward, maybe the Knicks insert a big man like Kenyon Martin or Amar’e Stoudemire into the starting lineup to counter the Pacers’ size. Stoudemire still has a 15-minute limit, and the way Woodson uses his starters, starting could be a good role for Stoudemire.
Of course, the player that would pick up Shumpert’s minutes is much more important than who starts, though both are related. Smith would be a leading candidate to carry a bigger load, and on that front, the Knicks got some good news:
Well, it’s good news if Smith lifts his playoff field-goal percentage above 34 and playoff 3-point percentage above 28.