Carmelo Anthony stole all the headlines last night during the Knicks thrilling 106-104 victory over the Hawks.
Anthony led the team in scoring with 42 points including tying two franchise records, with Nine 3-Pointers and scoring 20+ plus in his 29th consecutive game. However, it was his driving layup against Josh Smith and knocking down the free throw to complete the three point play with 12.5 seconds that was the reason New York walked away with the big win.
While Anthony may have been the star of the night, Amar’e Stoudemire continues to remind us all that he can be a star as well as he played another well once again.
Stoudemire tallied 18 points, eight rebounds and one block in 29 minutes. He scored when it mattered most as he scored eight of those 18 points in the fourth quarter, including six straight at one stretch and two key foul shots that gave the Knicks a 103-102 lead. He also had three rebounds and his lone back in the final period.
“It’s a matter of getting rhythm back,” Stoudemire said of his play in the low post. “Experience is the best teacher. The more I’m out there the better. My rhythm becomes easier for me. I am just trying to take my time and progress as the games build up.”
Stoudemire was the lone bright spot in Saturday night’s 97-80 loss to the Sixers. He scored 20 points in 26 minutes and was the best player on the floor for the New York Knickerbockers.
“He’s been active the last four or five games in terms of when the shot goes up. He’s able to get it and score,” the coach said. “We just have to continue to ride him and push him in the right direction. He’s so curious and anxious defensively in trying to do the right thing, and that’s very encouraging.”
Since the team left to London to play the Pistons, Stoudemire has started to play the 2010-11 Stoudemire that first arrived to the Garden. In his last five games, Stoudemire has averaged 17 points and 6.2 rebounds as the team has gone 3-2 during that span. His free throw shooting has been good as well knocking down 31-36 which is good for 86 percent.
Stoudemire is not going to win games on his defense, but his improved low-post game certainly gives the Knicks another threat late in games if teams double on Anthony. It looks as if the work he did last summer with Hakeem Olajuwon is starting to payoff.
“He’s playing great right now — he’s giving us great scoring off the bench and great scoring in general,” Tyson Chandler said. “He’s giving us a great post presence and is also passing well off the double-team.”
The Knicks will continue their five game homestand on Wednesday night when they host the Orlando Magic. New York leads the Atlantic Division by two games over the Brooklyn Nets with a record of 27-15. They trail the Miami Heat by 1.5 game for first place in the Eastern Conference.