Knicks rest trio of starters in finale

Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, Jared Jeffries and Toney Douglas did not play Thursday night for the New York Knicks against the Bobcats in Charlotte.

Amare Stoudemire, however, started, which is key because he can continue to keep his back loose and regain his rhythm on the court -- something he said he's been lacking since his recent return. The others in the starting five against the Bobcats included Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson.

Douglas was the only player out of those latter five not playing due to a setback. He's under the weather and stayed back at the team's hotel. The others rested to prepare for a first-round matchup with either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat, with Game 1 on Saturday.

The Knicks' opponent won't be determined until the conclusion of their game and the Sixers' game -- Philadelphia plays at Detroit Thursday night.

For the Knicks to remain in the seventh seed and face the Heat, they'll have to win, or the Knicks and Sixers both have to lose. But if the Knicks lose and the Sixers win, the Knicks would drop to eighth and square off against the Bulls.

During his pregame news conference Thursday night, Mike Woodson sized up the Bulls and Heat.

"Miami has three superstars, I call them, in (Chris) Bosh, (Dwyane) Wade and LeBron (James), and they have a nice supporting cast that has learned how to play with those guys," he said. "And Chicago, they're just solid across the board. I mean, they get it done on both ends and they've got a great point guard (Derrick Rose) that's leading the way. So however you cut it, man, they're two great teams that we're going to have to deal with and win the game to flip the series and get it back in our favor."

Davis said his sore right hamstring will be an ongoing issue throughout the playoffs. That's why he asked Woodson for the extra rest Thursday.

"I've just been battling a lot of injuries," he said. "Tonight, I just felt like I could use a day of rest to let my body recover from all the stress I've been going through the last couple weeks."

Jared Zwerling is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.