If you were to ask Chris Sheridan over at Sheridan Hoops, the answer would be really, really bad:
Amare Stoudemire made an inglorious return to the court Tuesday night on the second day of the new year, missing every shot he took in a first half in which he looked old, slow and lost. It was brutal.
Sheridan goes on to take issue with Stoudemire’s indifference to playing in a loss, as the big man seemed just happy to be back on the court:
Even weirder, and perhaps even disturbing, was the way Stoudemire reacted to the loss. He was nonchalant. He was borderline giddy over the greeting he received from the fans, he talked over and over about butterflies and how the game seemed to be played at 100 mph.
If the loss bothered him, it was impossible to tell.
Frankly, I’m inclined to give Stoudemire a pass on both fronts. I don’t disagree much with how he looked, particularly in the first half when he really lacked any noticeable burst, but I thought he came on a little in the second half, and given it was his first game back I was pretty willing to accept not a whole lot in actual production. Did he look a little more lumbering than I would have liked? Uh, yeah. Was that, “Wait, where am I?” look on defense a bit disconcerting? Sure, but I’m still willing to give the guy a week or so before pronouncing him dead and buried.
As for the other part, I find the criticism weirder than Stoudemire’s reaction. I mean, I guess you want every player to spit nails after every loss, or kicking puppies and punching babies or whatever the case may be, but given that he’s missed the whole season and had pretty good reason to not necessarily expect such a hearty ovation, if he was happy to be back on the court and touched at the fan’s reaction, I don’t really see any problem with that.