After a dominant 105-79 Game 2 permanence, the New York Knicks looked to have all the momentum heading into Game 3 with the Indiana Pacers. But New York J.R. Smith has fallen ill, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
UPDATE: Saturday, May 11, at 7:09 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
According to ESPN New York's Ian Begley, J.R. Smith is active tonight for Game 3:
---End of Update---
Although the exact nature of Smith's illness is unclear at this point, Al Iannazzone of Newsday is reporting that Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said that Smith has a 102-degree fever.
While Woodson hasn't ruled out the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, he doesn't anticipate Smith contributing as much as usual if he does play, according to Iannazzone.
Since the game isn't until 8 p.m. ET, Smith and the Knicks don't have to make a decision until later on. But his health is definitely a concern for a Knicks team that lacks explosive scorers aside from Smith and Melo.
Smith has struggled thus far against the Pacers. He is just 7-of-30 from the field in two games and is averaging a mere 12.5 points per contest. Smith has always been a streaky shooter, and while he has been more consistent this year than in years past, he is still a volatile player.
In fact, Smith has struggled so much in this series that Woodson mentioned the possibility of lessening his minutes in Game 3. This was before an illness entered the equation, so it's a safe bet that Woodson will opt to lighten his load to some degree.
It's no coincidence that the Knicks dropped Game 4 to the Boston Celtics in the first round without Smith. The Knicks won the first three games of that series, but Smith was suspended for the fourth due to an elbowing incident involving Jason Terry.
Smith is a constant offensive threat, and the Knicks may have to find a way to replace his production in Game 3 against the Pacers regardless of whether or not he is active.
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