How Knicks Will Use Dennis Smith Jr. against Lakers and Other Notes

Howard Megdal

NEW YORK — Plenty of news out of Mike Miller's pregame avail with reporters.

First and foremost, Dennis Smith Jr., who has been out since December 23 due to injury, has been cleared to return Wednesday night. Miller said he expects him to play, and didn't sound particularly concerned about bringing him along slowly.

"He's done a lot of individual stuff, obviously, with the training staff, getting his conditioning back up," Miller said. "But the difference is, basketball condition is different than just being physically fit. So he's going to work his way back into it, but he's a high-level athlete."

What is worth considering, above and beyond Smith's value to the Knicks, is that with just two weeks until the NBA trade deadline, the further along Smith can look to would-be suitors, the more of an option it gives Scott Perry and Steve Mills when listening to offers.

The other pregame news is that Marcus Morris Sr. will return and play, giving the Knicks another big body to throw at the hyper-vertical Lakers.

"They do, obviously, a great job with rim protection," Miller said. "And I think they're number two in the league in getting shots at the rim. So we're going to have to be conscious of those two things."

More to come here from The Garden tonight.

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