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J.R. Smith to play in Game 3 after missing shootaround, Amar’e Stoudemire set to return

May 11, 2013, 1:02 PM EDT

J.R. Smith AP

UPDATE 7.44 p.m. ET: J.R. Smith is now expected to play in Game 3, according to multiple reports, including this one from the New York Post.

1:02 p.m. ET: New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith missed shootaround on Saturday and is questionable for Game 3 against the Pacers, according to the team’s official public relations Twitter page.

The reason given for Smith’s absence was illness, and head coach Mike Woodson told reporters his Sixth Man of the Year was home with a 102 degree fever (via Al Innazzone of Newsday).

But it’s worth noting that Smith has been mired in a dreadful shooting slump, and has gone just 7-of-30 from the field over his last two games. Woodson has said he would consider benching Smith in favor of more productive options should he continue to struggle.

Smith hasn’t spoken to reporters since after the team’s Game 2 win, and the Knicks are famously protective of their players where the media is concerned. In addition to the shooting woes, Smith was seen partying with singer Rihanna this week, and while a majority of players in the league are out late consistently, Smith is under the microscope playing where he does, and his actions are being scrutinized even more closely considering his recent performance.

On a more positive note, the Knicks are expected to see Amar’e Stoudemire return to the lineup for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in early March. He’s expected to play 10-15 minutes off the bench, and if healthy, could be a big help to New York’s chances against the big front line of the Pacers.

  1. gatordontplay - May 11, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    did he catch a terrible disease from rhianna?

  2. melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Don’t get Amare coming back. I’ve always thought the Knicks were better without him.

    • eventhorizon04 - May 11, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      As recently as last year, the Knicks were worse on both offense and defense whenever Amar’e and Carmelo were on the court together. That’s because whether Woodson tried Carmelo at the 3 and Amar’e at 4, or Carmelo at the 4 and Amar’e at the 5, the pairing gave the Knicks problems.

      With Carmelo at the 3 and Amar’e at the 4, the Knicks’ floor spacing on offense was poor given the guards they had last year, leading to their offense being less efficient.
      With Carmelo at the 4 and Amar’e at the 5, floor spacing was better, but the Knicks’ defense collapsed since Tyson Chandler wasn’t on the court.

      This year, in the limited time Carmelo and Amar’e have been on the court together, their offense has done well in part because of their better long-range shooting at guard and in part due to better chemistry. However, Amar’e is still a huge weakpoint on the Knicks defense, and he gets fewer touches on offense when he’s on the court with Carmelo.

      So I think the best role for Amar’e is as a backup 4 to Carmelo, since as a member of the bench unit, Amar’e would able to be a focal point on offense – along with JR Smith – and have Kenyon Martin at the 5 to anchor the defense.
      That maximizes Amar’e talent (offense) while minimizing his weakness (inability to protect the rim as a 5) and without having to push Carmelo to the 3 (Carmelo has done okay as a small-forward but has thrived as a mismatch against power-forwards).

      So I think Amar’e can help the Knicks a lot in a bench role.

      • eboneseagles - May 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        Very well said.

  3. eboneseagles - May 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Probably just had a bad hangover and the fever is a cover up.

  4. dysraw1 - May 11, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    JR. hasn’t been right since he hit Jet with the fake elbow, he could use the time to evaluate his lack of production an getting right

  5. saint1997 - May 11, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    People complain about JR going out with Rihanna, but come on. Give me the chance to ill with RiRi before a game and I think every man knows what they’d do

    • fanofevilempire - May 11, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      RiRi is straight trouble, you better off with Chris Brown.

      • badintent - May 13, 2013 at 1:23 AM

        Not if he’s throwing beer bottles at Drake !

    • fanofevilempire - May 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      RiRi is too much trouble, you better off with Chris Brown.

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