Hardaway Jr., who was questionable coming into the game due to a sprained ankle, suited up and was expected to come off the bench for the Knicks on Wednesday.
The rookie sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter of Monday's win over Utah.
Mike Woodson said before the game that Hardaway’s ankle was “okay.”
“He’s young. We’ll play him if he’s doing what he needs to do,” Woodson said.
Hardaway Jr. has been a big piece of the Knicks’ 11-3 run, averaging 10.9 points off the bench in that span.
Phil's here: Knicks president Phil Jackson was in the stands for the Knicks-Nets game. Jackson has attended three games since being hired as president on March 18. Jackson attended the Knicks-Lakers game in late.
Woody says Hawks players not tanking: Woodson didn’t make much of Hawks GM Danny Ferry saying Atlanta isn’t concerned about getting the eighth seed in the East.
The Knicks entered play Wednesday one game behind the Hawks for eighth place in the East.
“At the end of the day, players they still want to win, when they’re competitive when they’re on the floor,” Woodson said. “Their instincts take over; if there is a close game when you got a chance to win, they’re gonna go try to win the game.”
Ferry caused a bit of a stir earlier this week when he told USA Today that Atlanta was “not focused” on securing the eighth seed.
Woody praises Nets: Both the Knicks and Nets struggled earlier in season, but the Nets have bounced back with a 30-12 record since Jan. 1. The Knicks? Not so much. They entered play Wednesday 11 games under .500.
Woodson was asked before Wednesday’s game why the Nets were able to bounce back and the Knicks weren’t.
“I can’t answer that. Maybe the key guys that we lost were more valuable to our team versus what they lost. When I look at their team, I think that they’re one of the most talented teams in the league in terms of personnel across the board,” Woodson said.
He later added: “I think they got a legitimate shot to come out of the East if they stay healthy. This is a big, big challenge for our ball club.”
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