Stoudemire is reportedly eyeing a Game 3 return, according to published reports. The 6-11 power forward hasn’t played a game since early March, after having a surgical procedure on his right knee to remove debris.
The 11-year veteran practiced at the Knicks Greenburgh, New York practice facility. He participated in a full court, 3-on-3 scrimmage where he appeared to look quick and explosive. However, his conditioning was not there fully as he appeared winded, according to a report from ESPN New York.
Game three is scheduled for Saturday back at the Pacers’ home arena in Indianapolis. The Knicks will reportedly monitor how Stoudemire feels on his recovery days before giving him the green light to play Saturday.
And if he is able to come back, the Knicks could certainly use him.
While Stoudemire has never been a great rebounder, his size and interior-scoring prowess will help the Knicks counter the Pacers’ imposing front line. The unit which consists of towering center Roy Hibbert, robust power forward David West and lanky small forward Paul George are 7-2, 6-8 and 6-8, respectively.
The Knicks start a smaller lineup that consists of three shooting guards 6-5 or shorter.
The shorter team ran into a buzzsaw against the taller one, Sunday afternoon. The Pacers smothered the Knicks and its star forward Carmelo Anthony, who shot just 36 percent. The Pacers also dominated the boards: outrebounding the Knicks 44-30 (11-6 on the offensive glass).
This series has the Knicks brainstorming all kinds of ways to counter the more physically dominating Pacers. Stoudemire, as physically compromised as he has been, is still a necessary component to attacking Indiana’s frontline, though his minutes will be limited.
Stoudemire possesses a height advantage over West at the power-forward spot. If placed at center, he could use his quickness to take advantage of the lumbering Hibbert.
At this point, the Knicks need all hands on deck for this series; particularly in game three, where the environment will be hostile. Expect the Pacers defense to be equally unwelcoming.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+