Mike Woodson is leaning toward starting small even after some of his big players return.
The Knicks were successful last season when Woodson started two point guards and Carmelo Anthony at power forward. Woodson went back to that lineup after the Knicks lost Andrea Bargnani to an elbow injury, and have a four-game winning streak after Thursday night's victory over the Cavaliers.
"The small lineup, we know that that works," Woodson said before the game. "Hey, I don't know if I'll even go back, go away from it at this time."
Woodson thought that starting Anthony and Bargnani together would cause mismatch problems because of Bargnani's ability to stretch the floor. But Anthony continues to play his best ball at power forward, and the Knicks win more.
Anthony scored a franchise-record 62 points last Friday against the Bobcats, which was the first game Bargnani missed after tearing a ligament in his left elbow. He is out indefinitely.
The Knicks are 10-19 when they started a conventional frontcourt, and 6-2 with a two point guard set.
"I know with big lineups I like Bargnani at that spot," Woodson said. "That was the reason for bringing him over. We just haven't had a chance to have that core group where we could develop some chemistry together."
Down and out
Iman Shumpert missed his first game this season with a sprained right shoulder that he suffered Tuesday. Shumpert was replaced in the starting lineup by J.R. Smith.
Shumpert had been the only Knick to appear and start in every game. Woodson said he's day-to-day and isn't sure of his status for Saturday's game against the Heat.
The Knicks also were without Kenyon Martin, who re-aggravated his left ankle Tuesday; Amar'e Stoudemire (sprained left ankle); Beno Udrih (flu-like symptoms) and Bargnani.
Woodson said it's possible Martin could play Saturday, but it doesn't sound as if Stoudemire will. He injured himself two weeks ago in Indiana. The Knicks said Stoudemire would miss at least two weeks.
"I know you say we alreays put time on injuries but sometimes players don't like to make it back at those two weeks," Woodson said. "We'll just have to wait until tomorrow and see where he is."
No surgery for Bargnani
Bargnani said he won't need surgery to repair the ligament in his elbow, but he also isn't sure when he'll be able to return.
When he was asked if it would be this season, Bergnani said, "I really hope so. I will try to do anything."
Last season with the Raptors, Bargnani suffered a similar injury to his right elbow on Dec. 10, 2012 and didn't return until Feb. 6.
"Honestly, I have no idea [when I'll return]," Bargnani said. "I would love to know. But I have no idea. The ligament is broke, so I just have to see how it heals and how strong the arm gets. You have to make sure it's 100 percent, so I really don't know what's the timeline."
Bargnani, wearing a cumbersome brace on his arm, said he feels "terrible, just terrible" that he is unable to play. He hadn't missed a game until the injury that he suffered when he fell on a drive to the basket Jan. 22 against Philadelphia.
David Stern attended his last Knicks' game as commissioner. The Knicks played a tribute video narrated by Bill Bradley for Stern, who is stepping down as of Saturday after 30 years. Stern received polite applause when he was shown on the big scoreboard.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is excited to be a part of All-Star Weekend. He was chosen to play in the Rising Stars Challenge Feb. 14 in New Orleans. "It means a lot," Hardaway said. It means the world to me. I'm just gonna have fun with the teammates I have out there and have a great experience."
Hardaway entered last night averaging 8.6 points a game, fourth amongst rookies, and his 40.9 percent shooting from three led all first-year players. He scored 29 points last night Thursday night.
He's the ninth Knick selected to play in the event formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game. The others were John Wallace, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson, David Lee, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields and Jeremy Lin.
The Knicks recalled Jeremy Tyler, Toure' Murry and Cole Aldrich from the Erie BayHawks. They were assigned to the D-League team Wednesday so they could practice when the Knicks were off.