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J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin Miss Practice; Iffy for Game 4


After getting spanked 82-71 in game three of their second-round playoff series with the Pacers, the Knicks were hoping things would start to turn around, but they received more bad news on their off day.

J.R. Smith, who scored just nine points in limited minutes with a high fever in game two, missed practice on Sunday when his temperature refused to go down. And it appears Kenyon Martin got the bug as well, as he sat out Sunday’s workout session with a similarly high fever.

Obviously, the Knicks are worried about losing two of their more productive bench players for game four. They have already struggled to score the basketball against one of the league’s best defenses and not having Smith – the 2012-2013 Sixth Man of the Year – and his scoring in game four would make things even tougher for the Knicks on the offensive end.

“We’ve just got to hope that over these next two days he can get some energy back because we desperately need his offense,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, according to ESPN.com.

The other major concern for the Knicks is other players getting sick. This would certainly be the worst time for the entire team to become ill, so the team will make sure that Smith and Martin are fully healthy before they are allowed back around the rest of the guys.

“Kenyon’s kind of coming down with [illness], too,”Woodson said, “so we’ve got to be careful that this thing doesn’t spread, and other guys start dropping.”

With the Knicks already struggling to make shots, this news should influence bettors to favor the Pacers even more. Of course, if you watched game three, you were probably already leaning that way. When the Knicks are hitting perimeter shots, they are tough to beat, but it’s hard to win a playoff series relying on jumpers and it’s even harder when you encounter a physical team that presents several matchup problems, on offense and on defense.

With almost two more full days to rest, the Knicks could come into game four with their strength back, but for now look for the Pacers to have the edge at home in game four on Tuesday night. And look for Indiana to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.



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