Opening Tip: Should J.R. start Game 4?

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
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Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Should Mike Woodson start J.R. Smith in Game 4?


I know, I know, it's irrelevant at this point. With the Knicks down 3-0, it's probably a waste of time to argue about lineup changes.

But if the Knicks want to snap their NBA-record 13-game playoff losing streak, do they have a better chance doing it with J.R. Smith in the starting lineup over Steve Novak?

Novak made his first career playoff start on Thursday, and didn't do much. He missed both of his shot attempts and went scoreless. He certainly didn't force the Heat to extend its defense any more than normal. If he had, maybe Carmelo Anthony would've been afforded some more room to operate.

Would Smith have made a difference in the starting five? He's active offensively and certainly draws attention from Miami defenders. He didn't have a great shooting night on Thursday (5-for-18) but certainly attracted plenty of Miami defenders on his drives to the rim, something that Novak doesn't provide.

One drawback from starting Smith is that the Knicks would lose a lot of firepower coming off the bench. But is that enough of a draw back not to do it?

What do you think? Assuming Amare Stoudemire doesn't return to the lineup on Sunday, should Woodson insert Smith into the starting lineup?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.7 3.2 0.9 36.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.2
StealsP. Prigioni 1.4
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2