Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
But to what?
Let's try to solve a fun logic puzzle together, shall we? Here are your clues:
Woodson changing lineup. No Copeland. Perhaps Melo at 3 and Kurt at 4. Woody would not say.
Amar'e Stoudemire will continue coming off the bench.
Woodson said Felton won't play tonight.
So, the starting backcourt is Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert. Shump will have his minutes bumped up to around 25, as expected. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler will still start. That leaves one open spot. Chris Copeland will not take that spot. Amar'e Stoudemire will not take that spot. Three guards probably isn't going to happen, since there's still no Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni is questionable. James White hasn't impressed at all in starts. Ronnie Brewer has fallen out of favor. Steve Novak hasn't started once this year. So...Kurt Thomas? I have trouble debunking Berman's guess. Thomas has played under 30 minutes this whole month and is coming off three straight DNP-CDs, but Woodson's already proven willing to shuttle Thomas between the end of the bench and the starting lineup.
So, my money would be on Kurt joining Chandler at tip-off, then probably playing like eight minutes total. Kidd-Shumpert-Melo-Kurt-Chandler has obviously never taken the floor, so we can only guess at what to expect. That lineup with Brewer in Shump's place has never been pleasant offensively (Melo playing with relatively few shooters and passers isn't ideal), but hopefully Shump can maintain the defense while spreading the floor with a few jumpers and replicating some of the extra-passin' fun of the two-point guard lineup.
By the way, the NBA knows what's up with Knicks-Celtics tonight: Joey Crawford will officiate, as will Dick Bavetta. Who they're refereeing at tip-off remains to be seen, but this has been my best guess. The preferred lineup when Felton does return is a whole 'nother story. We'll get to that when the time comes.