With K-Mart in doubt, Knicks may give Peace a chance

By on December 11, 2013

CLEVELAND — Kenyon Martin might miss his second consecutive game Tuesday night against the Cavaliers, and his absence could give Peace a chance.

If Martin is unable to play, Mike Woodson said he likely will insert Metta World Peace into the starting lineup as the Knicks look to bounce back from Sunday’s 41-point debacle against the Celtics.

“Right now, (Martin) is a game-time decision tonight and all we can do is just wait,” Woodson said at the morning practice at Quicken Loans Arena. “Obviously, it’s bothering him some, his ankle, and we knew that coming into this season. … From a coach’s standpoint it’s tough, because I felt good the other day about having a nice rotation for two straight games and then boom, it happens, so what are you gonna do? You gotta go with the next guy in line.”

World Peace had fallen out of Woodson’s nine-man rotation for a few games last week, but the veteran forward has scored 12 points off the bench in each of his past two appearances.

“I thought in both games, the Orlando game, as well, he stayed ready. And that’s what pros have to do,” Woodson said of World Peace. “Again, you can’t play 14-15 guys unless it’s a 30-40-point, 20-point blowout, and guys get an opportunity to play.

“You still have to stay ready for that what-if. If someone goes down, somebody gets hurt, the next guy in the rotation, you can’t sit and sulk because the coach hadn’t played you. Because then you compound things, and he was ready to play and that to me is a good sing. That’s why I’m putting him in the lineup tonight.”

Woodson used rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. to replace Martin in the lineup in Sunday’s blowout loss to Boston.

“You lose a good defender in Kenyon, a good rebounder in Kenyon, he’s like Tyson (Chandler) to me. We’ve struggled since Tyson’s been out of the lineup,” Woodson said. “I decided to go with Tim the other day. Does that mean because we started Tim that that team is 40 points better than us? Absolutely not.”

Metta World Peace scores 12 points off the bench in each of the last two games for the Knicks.

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Metta World Peace scores 12 points off the bench in each of the last two games for the Knicks.

Martin, who originally injured his left ankle late last season, had appeared in all but one of the Knicks’ first 18 games. With four games in five nights, including Wednesday at home against Chicago, Martin said he’s “just trying to make sure I’m available” for most of them.

“Just gradually, just playing and playing and playing, eventually something is going to start hurting,” Martin said. “It ain’t nothing I can’t deal with, just trying to be cautious right now with Tyson being out still. I don’t want to have no setbacks.”

Of course, Woodson and Carmelo Anthony had labeled the loss to the Celtics “an embarrassment” and “a step backwards” after they’d convincingly won the previous two games to halt a nine-game losing streak.

“I try not to even think about it. It’s behind us. It’s behind me. I didn’t even put any more thought into it. There’s no need to put any more thought into it. What happened happened,” Anthony said Tuesday. “I was upset. Any time you lose like that you should be upset. (Monday) was a new day, I got over it, we got over it, got back to work.

“It just shows that we put that game behind us, that we are trying to move forward, moving forward in the right direction. If we don’t, it just shows that that game is still lingering with us. We shouldn’t be thinking about that game. That game is over with.”

RONDO SAYS NO

Celtics guard Rajon Rondo denied that Anthony has been recruiting him to come to the Knicks after Steve Smith, the former high school coach for both players at Oak Hill Academy said as much last week in an interview with USA Today. “I haven’t talked to him about that,” Rondo told the Boston Globe before Tuesday’s game against the Nets.

Anthony previously had declined to comment on the possibility, saying Friday: “In my book, that’s tampering.”

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