Reports coming our of New York are saying that the Knicks may be getting Amar’e Stoudemire back for the 2nd round of the eastern conference playoffs. The collective target seems to be game 3 against the Indiana Pacers, a series in which the Knicks will surely need to size and inside presence.
The Knicks sort of wandered their way through the last 3 games of their first-round series against the Boston Celtics, after finishing the season strong, and they’ve really seemed to struggle against physical teams all season. The Knicks won’t expect the Pacers to tone down the defensive pace during round two, and the sheer size of the Pacers may be more than most teams can handle in a defensive favored type of playoff atmosphere.
Amar’e has been trying to get back, and head coach, Mike Woodson, has monitored his development as he nears his return.
“If he feels fine after Friday, then I think we will play him Saturday,”Woodson said.
Despite what the naysayers tend to believe about the team’s chemistry with Stoudemire, Woodson obviously believes the power forward will give them added diversity as they approach what will, no doubt, be a very physical round of play.
“If he’s right he can help us a lot. There’s no doubt,”Woodson said.
Amar’e can add an element of scoring from the 4 and 5 positions that the Knicks lack with Chandler and Kenyon Martin. Stoudemire’s ability to create his own shot and finish inside and out will help the Knicks create matchup problems against the bigger Indiana squad. The burden of making sure the offense flows with two ball-stoppers (Melo and Amar’e) will fall on Mike Woodson, as he looks to prime the Knicks to face-off with their next opponent in the eastern conference finals.