Shootaround: Knicks flying in team doctor to evaluate Shumpert
The New York Knicks have more than just a game to worry about ahead of tonight’s fourth game in their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pacers. They have a number of health concerns to take into account.
J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin have a flu bug and missed practice on Sunday and Monday. They were present for Tuesday’s shootaround and are expected to play.
“I feel better but it didn’t matter,” Martin said. “I was playing no matter what.”
Martin later drew laughs when he responded as to whether Smith got him sick. “I don’t sleep in the same bed with him,” he remarked.
Iman Shumpert is dealing with soreness in his left knee — the same knee that he had surgery on about this time last year after he tore the ACL. The Knicks are flying in their team doctor to evaluate Shumpert this afternoon and provide an assessment.
“He has had some swelling the last two days so they’re going to take a closer look at it to make sure everything is O.K.,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. “There’s always some concern. He took a bad spill and hasn’t been able to do nothing the last two days.”
Should Shumpert not be able, Woodson said he hasn’t given much thought to his starting lineup or what his rotation would become.
“I have no idea. I haven’t even given that a thought because I thought he’d be here this morning.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Shumpert’s play: “He’s just a tenacious, tenacious defender. It would obviously probably limit them on the defensive end but they have other guys that can guard, too. He gives them a big lift offensively as well.”
One other injury note: Amar’e Stoudemire is feeling fine after playing his first minutes since a right knee operation on March 11. He said he’s still on a 10-15 minute limit, per doctor’s orders.
“They could possibly play [Steve] Novak, who’s a stretch-3,” Roy Hibbert said of Shumpert possibly missing the game, or being limited. “We’re just thinking about all possibilities and we’ve gone through the different scenarios of who plays.”
At morning shootaround, the Pacers emphasized guarding the long-ball and continuing to protect the paint. With the chance of taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, they are expecting the Knicks to play with greater energy and intensity. The Knicks, who shot just 3-of-11 from behind the arc on Saturday, will likely try to get their best weapon going early in Game 4.
“This team is deadly from 3-point range,” said Paul George, who has the assignment of defending Carmelo Anthony all series. “If we can limit that and take that away from what they like to do, then that definitely gives us a greater shot to win.”
“Any time you’re down in a series, it feels like your season is on the line,” Vogel added. “Teams always come out with great desperation and we got to match and then exceed it.”
The game will tip at 7 PM EST and will air on TNT. Reggie Miller, who will be siting courtside, will provide the analysis. All fans in attendance will receive a gold rally towel.