Mike Woodson didn't play six players on Wednesday night due to rest -- Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin -- which left the roster against the Hawks with eight players.
But for the last five minutes of the game, that number whittled to six. That's because Pablo Prigioni suffered a sprained right ankle in the first quarter (X-rays were negative), and then Iman Shumpert took the bench in the fourth quarter with leg cramps.
"To lose him and his energy and his defense and just his vision on the court, would be huge," Novak said. "But I don't think that's the case. I know he's a tough guy, and I know he'll play if he has to. He's not a big icer, but I imagine he'll ice now if he has to."
Shumpert doesn't anticipate any setbacks, but the cramps are something to monitor because he's had them in the past, especially during his rookie season.
"I haven't felt them in a while," he said. "It was just a bad charley horse in my thigh. I think I was just a little too excited, stomped too hard when 'Flight' [James White] caught the dunk in the fourth. I get happy when my teammates do exciting things."
There was actually a chance the Knicks would only have five players available for most of the final period because Chris Copeland suffered a left shoulder injury about five minutes before Shumpert was subbed out. Copeland got hurt when he drew a foul on Anthony Tolliver going up for a shot in the paint.
"It doesn't feel too great right now -- I'm sure tomorrow won't be even better -- but I'll be fine by Saturday," he said. "It popped out for a second. It was one of those quick pops, and it went right back in. They called it a stinger."
Copeland continued the game and finished with a career-high 33 points on 14-for-29 shooting. He became the first Knicks rookie in 33 years (since Bill Cartwright) to score 30 points in back-to-back games.
"That's cool, man," Copeland said. "Just one of those things. I'm glad we got the win more than anything and finished the season the right way for our fans at home."
Q'S DEBUT: It had been four years since Quentin Richardson took the court at the Garden. In his season debut Wednesday night, he scored five points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Afterward, he joked he was so tired that he needed some fluids.
"I'm gassed. There's no doubt it," he said. "I said, 'They better have the IV waiting for me,' but I made it through. It was cool."
Richardson reflected on his New York return.
"It was awesome, man," he said. "I feel really blessed. The crowd was great; I heard a few 'Q's' when I was going in, so that made me feel really good. The fans have been great on Twitter and all of that stuff since they heard about the signing, so it's just great to be back."
SHEED LEAVES: Novak shared his thoughts on Rasheed Wallace retiring -- for the second time -- and his impact on the Knicks this season.
"He's been just such a huge part of our team this year," he said. "He's a voice in the locker room, someone who's won a championship and someone who everyone respects. Obviously to hear that he's done for good -- although he's said that before and come back -- I know this is probably it, and it's just been a honor playing with him."
MELO MAKIN' MOVES!: For the first time in his 10-year career, Anthony won the NBA scoring title, outdoing Olympic teammate Kevin Durant 28.7 to 28.1 points per game. The closest Melo had been previously was a second-place finish in 2006-07, when he averaged 28.9 points per game. Kobe Bryant was at 31.6.
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