Not one starter on the New York Knicks scored in double digits and Carmelo Anthony (knee) left the game midway through the second quarter after an awkward fall without contact, but somehow the Knicks pulled out a victory.
When someone on a team goes down, someone else has to step up. Last night for New York, it was Amar’e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire played 32 minutes and went 10-15 from the field for a team-high 22 points. If Anthony, whose knee had been bothering him enough for him to recently get an MRI prior to hurting it, is out for an extended period of time, Stoudemire will be the guy who steps up as the primary scoring threat in his absence.
Since returning to the Knicks after missing the majority of the first half of the season, Stoudemire has been coming off the bench in a more diminished role of no more than 30 minutes per game. However, that needed to change- with or without Anthony.
Anthony (listed as day-to-day) will likely sit out the New York’s next game to rest his knee, giving Stoudemire the window he needs to rightfully claim back his starting, and more prominent, role.
There was this silly notion that Anthony and Stoudemire would never be able to play together, but that is nonsense. All Stoudemire needed to realize was that Anthony is the #1 option, which he has publicly acknowledged.
However, that is not to take away from what Stoudemire has brought to the Knicks since his return. He is giving New York 13.9 points per game and about 5 rebounds per night as well for a team that was in desperate need of another big man in addition to Tyson Chandler.
Stoudemire worked with Hakeem Olajuwon during the off-season to improve his post game, and the difference this season is noticeable. STAT looks confident, quick, and is sharp with his moves.
He is looking like the player that the Knicks signed pre-‘Melo who put up 25 points per game two years ago. If New York starts getting that Stoudemire on a nightly basis, the likelihood of a deep playoff run greatly increases.