Baron Davis expected back Friday

Knicks coach Mike Woodson said that he expects Baron Davis to return to the starting lineup on Friday in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.

But with Davis out, Mike Bibby has had a chance to further earn Woodson’s trust running the offense.

Davis sat Wednesday night with a stomach bug, also giving him an opportunity to rest his sore hamstring. Bibby started in his place, recording eight points and eight assists in a season-high 36 minutes in the Knicks' 104-95 win over the Nets. Woodson has said before that he trusts Bibby, having coached the veteran guard during his days in Atlanta.

“I believe in Mike,” Woodson said of the 33 year-old Bibby. “Even thought he’s an old head and doesn’t move as swift, doesn’t get around the court as quickly as he used to anymore. He still knows how to run a team. In games like this you need a stable guy that can direct traffic. He played a lot of minutes, probably needed a blowout game like that. He made some Mike Bibby shots that I know he can make. It was nice to see him out there.”

The Knicks have been searching for a steady point guard all season long, from the time that the experiment with Toney Douglas at the starting position failed. The team found an answer in Jeremy Lin, but the second-year guard is sidelined after surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and isn’t expected back until at least the second round of the playoffs -- if New York advances, that is.

Davis was slated to be the Knicks’ savior at the point, but the veteran, who is also 33 years old, has not been healthy all season. Davis has been hampered by injuries to his back, neck and hamstring. If Bibby can provide productive minutes for significant stretches, he could take some of the load off of Davis and Iman Shumpert, who has also taken on some of the ball-handling responsibilities.

Bibby shot 3-for-10 from the field and made two 3-pointers Wednesday night. That’s after he played 26 minutes on Tuesday against Boston, previously the most he had played in a game. Bibby said the extra time is giving him an opportunity to simply get into his rhythm in real game action.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Bibby, who is in his 13th season. “It’s kind of second nature. It’s just, get my wind back and get my legs back and just play basketball.”

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