After losing home court advantage by dropping Game 1 of their series to the Indiana Pacers, the New York Knicks could be getting some help.
As expected, forward Amar’e Stoudemire scrimmaged with his teammates on Monday and is targeting a return to the lineup for Game 3 on Saturday in Indiana.
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv reported the following:
“The only way I wouldn’t be [available for Game 3] is if I don’t recover well from today and if I don’t recover well from the following practice [Wednesday],” Stoudemire said. “If there is any setback from that, then that ‘ll be difficult to deal with. But hopefully everything goes well.”
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said: “‘If he doesn’t have any setbacks he’ll probably suit up Saturday.”
If Game 1 was any indication, the Knicks definitely could use Stoudemire’s size as Woodson has to play more than one big against the Pacers. Going small isn’t going to work as the Pacers are clearly the bigger and more physical team. Carmelo Anthony can’t keep having to guard David West or this is going to be a very quick series.
While Stoudemire returning is great news for Knicks fans, how much he helps is another story altogether.
When he returned for the first time this season, Stoudemire was very rusty and it took some time for him to get his timing back.
The Knicks don’t have that much time to wait for him.
There’s also the fact that the Knicks need to be tougher defensively, which is an area that STAT doesn’t help at all. But having him available could allow Woodson to shift Anthony to the 3 and play Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin together, which on paper could be their best chance to win this series.
As far as the scrimmage, Stoudemire didn’t look so good, which leads me to believe he won’t be of much use this series.
The New York Post’s Marc Berman reported that Stoudemire looked very rusty and has a ways to go after getting outplayed by third-string center Earl Barron.
“It feels good to finally be on the court (in) competition,’’ Stoudemire told Berman. “I had a tough day today but it felt really good. I had no pain running, cutting slashing – I felt explosive. The one thing is getting my wind back up and go from there.”
Stoudemire hasn’t played since March 7 after undergoing his second knee debridement surgery of the season.
He scrimmaged alongside Marcus Camby and James White facing the trio of Barron, Chris Copeland and Quentin Richardson. When it ended, he reportedly laid on the court and looked exhausted.
Stoudemire will rest Tuesday and hopes to scrimmage Wednesday and Friday. The Knicks had the good fortune of having three days off between Games 2 and 3, which should hopefully give his knee enough extra time to get ready for what promises to be a very physical series the rest of the way.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.