By Sean Deveney Sporting News
BOSTON – There is still some question as to how exactly things will work for the Knicks when Amare Stoudemire is completely back at full health and ready to play big minutes. But, thus far, the results on
Stoudemire’s return from preseason knee surgery have been only getting better, and if the trend keeps up, the Knicks might have themselves a seriously potent weapon off the bench.
In Thursday’s 89-86 win over the Celtics, Stoudemire scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. That marked the fourth straight game that Stoudemire has given the Knicks double-digit scoring off the bench, and the Knicks have won three of those games.
“He’s more active now,” coach Mike Woodson said. “Obviously his knee is starting to get a lot better. I was only able to give him 20 minutes, and he was over wondering why I didn’t get him back in there, but he hung in there with me and when he did get back in, he made a great offensive play and I thought defensively he was solid as well.”
Stoudemire returned to the court on January 1, in a loss to Portland. He clearly needed time to shake off the rust of having the first two months of the season off, but lately, it appears as though he has done just that. He is averaging 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in his last four games, especially impressive numbers considering he played just 22.3 minutes. He is shooting 57.1 percent from the field, and if there is any clear indication that he is feeling like his old self, it is his ability to get to the free-throw line—Stoudemire is averaging 8.0 free throw attempts per game in his last four outings.
“I am definitely feeling better, getting better, more comfortable,” Stoudemire said. “I just feel like when I am out there I am going to do whatever I need to do to help the team win, and that was what I was trying to do tonight.”