With the Atlantic Division and number two seed in the Eastern Conference clinched, the New York Knicks should and most likely will rest their key players. Neither Carmelo Anthony nor J.R. Smith should see one solitary second in either of the last two meaningless games against the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks.
Winning Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers allows for New York to rest their stars one extra day leading up to their showdown against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday. Being able to sit the likes of Carmelo and J.R. without another extra game of wear and tear will be that much more beneficial going into what will most likely be a rough and tough series against Boston.
NBA league rules stipulate that all teams must dress at least eight players, and with the Knicks as short handed as they are, some players will be playing a ton of minutes in these last two games. New Knick Solomon Jones should take advantage of the ample playing time he is going to receive and do his best to try and convince Mike Woodson that he is worthy of his coach’s trust and potential playoff minutes if Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby cannot make it back in time for their first round playoff series.
Sideline reporter Tina Cervasio alerted viewers during Sunday’s broadcast that Rasheed Wallace may potentially suit up in New York’s next game against Charlotte, but given the Knicks’ recent history with regard to full disclosure of player injuries, I will not be holding my breath. It was one year ago that Jeremy Lin was allegedly day to day and wound up missing the rest of the season. Even earlier this year, Woodson boasted in confidence that Rasheed would indeed be back after the all star break; who knew that it would only be about two months later than expected.
With nothing left to play for in the regular season, the Knicks have earned the right to rest and recuperate before embarking on what hopes to be a deep and exciting playoff run. As long as no one else goes down with an injury, the Knicks can consider these next two games a success.