Harris DeckerSaturday night was a product of several games in the making. We saw it creeping in and last night it hit Knicks fans worldwide. Amar’e Stoudemire is playing great and he’s doing so off great performances, and passes by Carmelo Anthony.
When Anthony signed in New York, fans dreamed about Stat and Melo becoming a dominating 1-2 punch in the Knicks front court. Now, several years into Anthony’s contract, the duo is playing great together, working off of each others strengths and scoring at will.
What’s different about their games is how Stoudemire has evolved as a player. Early in his career, Stoudemire worked the space in between the arc and the rim, using the pick and roll in devastating fashion. He and Steve Nash were dynamic, accounting for a huge portion of the Phoenix Suns offense.
It looked a lot like this:
Now that Stoudemire is in the latter part of his career, he is developing a post game that seems at times to be unstoppable. Instead of relying on great passing from a point guard, he is getting himself comfortable inside 12 feet, catching the ball and then patiently working his way to the basket. He’s understanding when to pass out of those spots but more importantly, is showing his touch, willing balls into the basket over and over.
Remember a few off seasons ago when we heard about Stoudemire working with Hakeem Olajuwon? It seems like those lessons are finally paying off. In the last few games he’s backed down Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen and Spencer Hawes and at times, has made it look easy. If you watch the highlights from last nights game against the 76ers, you can see some of the moves that Stoudemire worked on with Olajuwon. Check it out here:
It’s really great to see these two playing well together. 2 of Anthony’s 7 assists were to Stoudemire and even when they weren’t passing directly to one-another, Anthony’s ability to hit outside and Stoudemire’s ability to work the paint made the defense open up like at no other time this season.