The New York Knicks face a big challenge tonight in Indianapolis. The Knicks will meet with the Indiana Pacers for the second time this season, both teams in the midst of a hot streak, the Pacers 8-2 in their last ten games, the Knicks 6-4.
Luckily for the Knicks, they’ll look to be close to full health tonight as reports indicate that J.R. Smith is expected to play, and Pablo Prigioni is going to suit up, too.
Smith, of course, was mysteriously benched during the Knicks’ loss to the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night. Previously, Smith had performed well in more limited minutes in wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. Before that, he was benched in a win over the Miami Heat after being fined $50,000 by the NBA for trying to untie opponents’ shoes. At this point, Mike Woodson‘s decision making with Smith’s playing time is beyond our knowledge, especially since he won’t answer questions about his methods. Nonetheless, the Knicks will need Smith against the Pacers.
Prigioni, meanwhile, is no certainty to play. He’s sat out since fracturing his foot in a December 16 loss to the Washington Wizards. We’ve heard Prigioni is close to returning, but this seems sudden. Woodson reiterated that Prigioni would likely suit up, but that he would talk to him before the game to see how he’s feeling.
If Prigioni doesn’t play tonight, then he could return tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Woodson and the Knicks would probably rather he play tonight against a conference rival and sit out if necessary tomorrow night against a Western Conference team.
Either way, it’s good to see this team returning to full healthy. A win tonight against the East’s best team would surely give the New York Knicks some momentum.
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