<
>

Ailing J.R., K-Mart sit out Sunday practice

INDIANAPOLIS -- J.R. Smith, who played 25 minutes in Game 3 on Saturday night despite a high fever, sat out of the Knicks' morning practice on Sunday.

Kenyon Martin also missed practice. "Kenyon's kind of coming down with [illness], too," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, "so we've got to be careful that this thing doesn't spread, and other guys start dropping."

Smith scored only nine points on 4-for-12 shooting during the Knicks' 82-71 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. He has shot dreadfully, making just 11 of 52 shots (21.2 percent) in three games this series, and he wasn't much better in the final two games of New York's first-round matchup with the Boston Celtics (8-for-27, 29.6 percent).

"We've just got to hope that over these next two days he can get some energy back because we desperately need his offense," Woodson said.

With an offense that is struggling to score against Indiana, which had the NBA's best defense during the regular season in terms of points allowed per possession, the Knicks need Smith's scoring. He won the NBA's Sixth Man Award by averaging 18.1 points per game off the bench. Without that production, the Knicks' offense loses much of its potency.

Woodson said that if Smith doesn't return to form, his strategy to find points will have to become "mixing and matching" some other players into the rotation.

"At this stage of the game, most playoff teams are pretty set, and we're jumping around a little bit now," Woodson said.

The Knicks trail 2-1 in this second-round series. Game 4 will be 7 p.m. Tuesday in Indianapolis.