By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Amar’e Gets His Legs Back!
Amar’e Getting His Legs Back at the Right Time
By Jerald L. Hoover
NEW YORK (BASN) – He is the recipient of a 20 plus million dollar salary this year, but sometimes he’s playing on a set of knees that aren’t worth ten cents.
He is the signer of an over 100 million dollar contract courtesy of the New York Knicks. He is Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire. He is a former All-Star and has the heart of a warrior. Albeit, STAT is a wounded one, but a warrior nonetheless.
The Knicks as a franchise are in a sort of a rut when it comes to STAT, because not only is there one more year after this one on his contract, it’s not even insured. But, that is the price the Knicks were willing to pay; knowing that his knees wouldn’t last the 5 years that it was signed to.
Some view the signing akin to Pedro Martinez when he signed with the New York Mets; the Mets suddenly became more relevant once they got Martinez.
Then Beltran came, and then came Johan Santana. The Knicks had a similar situation with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler joining the Knicks.
Sometimes you have to overpay just to be in play.
But sometimes those dreams can become a nightmare when either Father Time creeps in or the dreaded injury bug wrecks havoc. Neither one are any fun, but it happens and it happens all too often.
Stoudemire is trying his best to piece together some semblance of a viable rest of his career. He was initially held out of practice during training camp and the beginning of the season. Then he was advised that he wouldn’t be playing heavy minutes and he wouldn’t play in any back-to-back games for the Knicks. My – how some plans can change!
With the Knicks reeling and on the brink of costing Mike Woodson his head coaching job, it seems that Stoudemire is attempting to come to the rescue. Stoudemire’s rescue mission wasn’t some covert operation as he showed flashes of his old self. He became a kleptomaniac and came up with a big steal. He sank a nice 16-footer to give the Knicks a two-point lead with 2:34 left in the surprisingly tight 4th quarter. He yanked down a key rebound on the defensive end before turning in perhaps the biggest defensive play of the game. Stoudemire shifted around Marquis Teague’s layup attempt into a miss with 1:45 left.
All in all over the final minutes, Stoudemire made four critical plays that helped the Knicks pull out an 83-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The all but forgotten Stoudemire tried to give everyone a taste and see that he still has some mileage left in those balky knees. If he can consistently provide this kind of lift off the bench (especially with the Chandler and Martin injuries) and give Carmelo some timely support, the Knicks’ outlook for the season (along with better point guard play) will improve immensely.
“This is kind of a short-memory league,” Stoudemire said when asked if people had overlooked and forgotten what he can do. “It is kind of out of sight, out of mind.”
Stoudemire played 30 hefty minutes, hitting 7-of-11 shots, scoring 14 points, grabbing nine rebounds, blocking one shot and coming up with two steals. The crunch time play again was most critical as starting center; Andrea Bargnani sat, watched and cheered.
Carmelo even realized that when he was struggling to put the Bulls away, Stoudemire provided him with the help he’s been looking for from him. He gave the Knicks another inside presence to attack the rim.
“The last couple of nights, Amar’e’s been stepping up big time, giving us another option we can go to offensively,” Carmelo said. “Defensively, he’s been stepping up, taking the challenge out there. And we’ve been having his back defensively. We just want him to continue getting better. We’ve got to help him get better. We got to build together.”