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Donte DiVincenzo won’t even hear question about Knicks punting Game 3

INDIANAPOLIS – Donte DiVincenzo snapped back at the suggestion the wounded Knicks would punt Game 3 to get healthy. 

“Hell no, you can stop there,” the Knicks starting shooting guard said. “We ain’t punting nothing. We’re coming in here to win the game.”

The Knicks were already down three rotational players when OG Anunoby was ruled out of Friday’s Game 3 against the Pacers with a strained hamstring.

Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks at Madison Square garden - New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo #0 drives down court during the first quarter.
Donte DiVincenzo says the Knicks believe they can win no matter who is on the floor “as long as you defend and rebound.” Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Jalen Brunson, the point guard, was also listed as questionable for Friday with a sore foot after suffering the injury in Game 2 and sitting the majority of the first half.

Brunson said he was fine and hoping to play, but chatter online and on the airwaves sparked debates about the idea.

Resting now to win later certainly isn’t unprecedented. In 2001, Allen Iverson was banged up and sat Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals versus the Bucks to get healthy (that series was tied at the time, 1-1). He returned to lead the Sixers into the NBA Finals by winning that series in seven games.

However, these Knicks don’t seem wired to punt.

They had an opportunity to manipulate their seeding before the playoffs, avoiding a potential matchup against either the Heat or 76ers.

But they won out with five straight victories to end the regular season to secure the second-seed and the franchise’s first 50-win campaign since 2013.

Since the playoffs started in late April, the Knicks have lost three rotational players due to injury – Anunoby, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic. They were already missing Julius Randle.

Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game seven of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals on June 3, 2001 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Allen Iverson sat out Game 3 of the 2001 Eastern Conference finals with a series of nagging injuries but returned to lead the 76ers to a series win in seven games. NBAE via Getty Images

Only Anunoby has a chance to return in the playoffs, although hamstring strains are tricky and the Knicks didn’t provide a recovery timeline. ESPN reported Anunoby is “unlikely” to play Game 4 on Sunday.

DiVincenzo said the different personnel hasn’t impacted the preparation.

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“No, not at all,” he said. “Like I said, throughout the season you look at it, you had our starting front court go out for almost the whole season and then make trades. You do this, you do that, guys in and out, it doesn’t matter. We have the same things that we want to get to the same core principles and we believe that no matter who’s on the court, as long as you defend and rebound, that we have a chance to win any game.”

Before Friday, Brunson had played in 28 straight games. He was on a minutes restriction in March after suffering a knee contusion and missing one game. He missed two games in January with a calf contusion, a game in February with an ankle injury and another game in February with neck spasms.

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