Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. will get his first NBA start today when the Knicks host the Celtics at noon.
“It felt great,” Hardaway Jr. said before the game. “It was an honor. Everything I worked for. If it wasn’t for my teammates, none of this would’ve been possible so I’m just going to go out there and play my game, do what I have to do to help the team win and know my role when I’m out there.”
Hardaway Jr., the No. 24 pick out of Michigan, is averaging 8.0 points on the season, and went for a career-high 15 points in Friday’s win over Orlando.
“He’s been pretty solid based on the minutes that we’re giving him from Day One, going back to Summer League,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I trust how he plays on the basketball floor. That’s why I’m starting him and I’m just trying to anchor our second group.”
Hardaway Jr. is starting at the two while the Knicks rest Kenyon Martin (ankle).
“His ankle is somewhat sore, so we’re just gonna back off,” Woodson said of Martin. “Back-to-back games got him a little sore. He’ll take today off.
“We’re going to start Tim Hardaway. We’ll have (Carmelo Anthony) back at the 4, and have Andrea (Bargnani) play the 5 with Tim and Iman (Shumpert) and Raymond (Felton).”
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.