- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Two of the Knicks' three shooting guards are banged up, but both are expected to play Wednesday against Sacramento.
Tim Hardaway Jr. appeared to injure his left leg during Tuesday's practice. He walked off in the middle of practice and watched from the sideline. He had a wrap on his leg.
But coach Mike Woodson said in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" that he expects Hardaway to play.
Also, J.R. Smith suffered a small fracture in his left cheekbone Sunday afternoon against Oklahoma City after his face hit Kevin Durant's knee in the fourth quarter, the Knicks announced. He will wear a protective face mask and is expected to play Wednesday.
"He won’t miss a game; that’s good," Woodson said. "We’re just hoping he can play well with the mask he wears.”
(You think anyone is going to try to unstrap the back of J.R.'s face mask?)
Both Smith and Hardaway had a tough time shooting against Oklahoma City, but they've provided scoring for the Knicks' offense since Andrea Bargnani went down.
Smith went 3-for-10 and scored seven points against the Thunder. He had averaged 18.2 points on 46 percent shooting in the previous 11 games.
Hardaway had five points on 2-for-6 shooting against OKC. In seven games prior, he averaged 15.6 points on 48 percent shooting.
Woody says Durant is MVP: Woodson put on his NBA analyst hat Tuesday when asked by Stephen A. Smith and Ruocco about the MVP race. He said Kevin Durant is his MVP "right now." Most league observers would agree with him. Durant put up 41 points Sunday against the Knicks. He has more 40-point games in his past 13 outings (four) than anyone else in the NBA. He's also averaging a career-high 5.5 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game.
"His game has changed a little bit from last year in that he's handled the ball a little bit more, and a lot of that probably has to do with [Russell] Westbrook not being in uniform," Woodson said. "They're playing him with the ball in his hand in the middle of the floor a lot. And that, to me, is the toughest spot on the floor when you've got an offensive guy with the ball that can make plays. That's a helluva threat, man."
Melo remains "positive": The Knicks' 20-31 record hasn't dampened Carmelo Anthony's mood. Melo insisted Tuesday that he's maintaining a positive outlook.
"Without a doubt," Anthony said. "My head is always up. I always remain confident and remain positive. And I’ve got to do that for my teammates and make sure they see that, and hopefully they can feed off that."
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