Knicks gain back Robinson, Sims in time for home game vs Pacers

After getting outrebounded in their last two losses, the New York Knicks are getting back two of their centers ahead of a critical home game against the Indiana Pacers.

The Knicks capped off an eventful Monday by announcing that Mitchell Robinson and two-way player Jericho Sims have cleared the health and safety protocols.

Former Chicago Bulls guards Ryan Arcicodiano, via a 10-day contract, and Denzel Valentine, via trade, joined the team earlier to bolster their depleted backcourt. Valentine is expected to be waived to create an open roster spot.

The Knicks have dropped the last two of a four-game road trip in Oklahoma City (95-80) and Toronto (120-105).

Without the Knicks’ top three rebounders (Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Julius Randle), the Raptors feasted on the glass, 44-30, to run away with the victory.

“Just going into the game shorthanded, your margin of error is small,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said after Sunday’s loss. “We wanted our focus to be on defense, rebounding, and keeping our turnovers low. I thought the big thing was rebounding. We got badly outrebounded and then [Toronto] did a good job coming after the ball.”

Aside from their rebounding woes, the Knicks committed 17 turnovers which the Raptors converted to 27 points.

It was surprising that Robinson cleared the protocols ahead of Noel, who had been out since Dec. 22. Nevertheless, it was a welcome development for the Knicks ahead of their Tuesday showdown with Indiana Pacers led by their formidable frontline tandem of All-Star Domantas Sabonis and league’s shot block leader Myles Turner.

The Pacers will be without key cogs Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, and Caris LeVert, who are still in the health and safety protocols.

RJ Barrett, who averaged 22.5 points over the last two games without Randle, should capitalize. Despite the high-scoring production, he’s been dismal from the outside, sinking only 3 of 13 from deep in the same span.

“You don’t replace Julius or Kemba and Derrick with an individual. You have to do it collectively as a team. We have to have the belief that we can win. Everyone on this roster is capable of playing well,” Thibodeau said. “So, get in there and get the job done.”

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