Knicks News: Return of Raymond Felton Is Trouble for Rest of Eastern Conference

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 05:  Raymond Felton #2 of the New York Knicks during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After missing the last five weeks of the NBA season with a fractured pinky finger, New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton is set to return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

According to ESPN's Ian Begley, Felton will start on Saturday night while veteran Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert will also start (h/t Alex Raskin of

Begley reports that Woodson will not put a restriction on Felton's minutes, but that he will have an X-ray after the Philly game to check the status of his finger after playing a full game.

With a healthy Felton back in the lineup and running the offense, the Knicks only get more dangerous in the Eastern Conference.

In his first stint with New York in 2010-11, Felton averaged career highs, posting 17.1 PPG and nine assists.

In 28 games prior to his injury, Felton was the third-leading scorer for New York, averaging 15.8 PPG to go along with 6.3 APG.

With Felton out of the lineup, the Knicks were just 7-7 and saw an unbalanced offense develop, with Carmelo Anthony handling most of the duties.

Not only does Felton provide an added source of offense to New York over Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, but the pick-and-roll game should be back in full effect.

Felton works well with both Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire on the pick-and-roll and can score around the rim.

Already leading the Atlantic Division and trailing the Miami Heat by a mere two games in the East, New York now has an even better shot at hanging onto a a top seed in the Conference, or better, claiming the No. 1 seed.

Felton's return means more scoring, more depth off the bench and better ball-handling and offensive schemes.

With Felton back in the lineup, we should see a more cohesive and consistent Knicks squad that puts up more points and relies a little bit less on 'Melo for the remainder of the season.

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