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Does a Healthy Amar’e Stoudemire Give NY Knicks Edge Over Miami Heat?
Through the first half of the season, only a few games separate the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat at the top of the surprisingly competitive Eastern Conference.
But after missing the majority of the campaign so far, New York will be hoping that the return of a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire will give them the edge over the defending champs, both in the second half of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Despite a shaky start – which can be linked directly to the fact that January has seen his first taste of competitive action for eight months – Stoudemire has been playing extremely efficiently in recent games, providing the scoring punch off the bench the Knicks were looking for.
Stoudemire has been doing some serious work since coming back from injury.
Over his last seven games, Stoudemire has been averaging 15.9 points. On the surface, that’s not particularly impressive, but when you take into account the fact that it has come on 65 percent shooting and in only 23.4 minutes of action per game, it suddenly looks like a fantastic contribution.
With the combination of Stoudemire’s bench production and Carmelo Anthony’s MVP-level play, J.R. Smith’s career-year and a bunch of fantastic shooters, the Knicks offense has the potential to be one of the hardest to handle in the NBA, even for the Heat.
In fact, we saw even before Stoudemire made his return to action that the Knicks can cause the Heat some serious problems, with two 20-point victories over them already this season.
BY CIARAN GOWAN