Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Amar'e Doesn't Help

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Amar'e Doesn't Help

Article excerpt

CLEVELAND -- In the ice-pack half-full world that the Knicks exist in, at least Amar'e Stoudemire was healthy.

That was the lone positive the Knicks could take from Friday night. Stoudemire returned to the lineup, he played and he walked off the court. The rest, the Knicks would like to forget.

Getting Stoudemire back may have been the goal after he missed 13 games with a bulging disk in his back.

But the Knicks were left with the same nagging questions that accompanied his absence -- can they make it work with Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony? The embarrassing 98-90 loss to a depleted Cavaliers squad did little to help their case.

After securing a playoff berth a night earlier with a Milwaukee loss the Knicks did little to show that they belonged. They have almost no shot at moving up from the seventh spot, but could still drop to No. 8 in the Eastern Conference with three games left.

A lifeless performance surrounded the rusty work by Stoudemire, who played 27 minutes and finished with 15 points, three rebounds and five fouls. Anthony sat out the fourth quarter, scoring just 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.

"I've seen this happen over the years that I've been in this league," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "You clinch a spot and it's like a sigh of relief and they stop playing and then they think they can gear it back up.

"There is nothing about tonight's game that I liked. It was good having Amar'e back. I thought he played decent in spurts. As a unit we didn't compete. That's unacceptable."

The Knicks have three games to work the rust off of Stoudemire and fit him back in with Anthony, who has carried the team in his absence.

The Knicks went 9-4 without him, but Stoudemire pointed to the 6- 1 record in the seven games that he and Anthony were together after Woodson took over.

Woodson has taken it on his shoulders to make it work after admitting earlier this week that it hasn't worked yet. …

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