Woodson Sees Crunch-time Role for Stoudemire

Mike Woodson took some heat (no pun intended, seriously none) for not playing Amar’e Stoudemire down the stretch in Sunday’s loss to Miami, but said he plans to rectify that going forward according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday:Mike Woodson, Amare Stoudemire

Stoudemire’s cap had been set at 30 minutes, and Woodson said before the game that he would start playing the six-time All-Star closer to that limit. Woodson also said the ideal situation is to have Stoudemire on the court at the end of the game with Anthony.

“Absolutely,” Woodson said before the game. “There’s no doubt about that. I think as we continue this journey, I’ve got to figure out early in the game if it’s going to work. I’ve got to get him more than 24, 25 minutes we’ve been dangling around.”

Woodson seemed to change his thought process about 24 hours after he said he never considered reinserting Stoudemire down the stretch of Sunday’s 99-93 loss to the Heat despite the Knicks’ need for some offensive punch. Stoudemire, who scored 12 points in 21 minutes, sat the last 7:56.

Brian DiMenna

I definitely don’t think Woodson’s found the right mix in regards to playing Stoudemire, but I do also see the dilemma. As good as he’s been on offense — which has been really, really good — is sort of how bad he’s been on defense, though I do think he’s had his moments. Obviously, he’s still trying to find the right mix of playing Amar’e/Melo/Chandler together, something that they have started to find some success with in limited minutes, but something they still haven’t quite figured out.

I guess I’d echo much of what TD said earlier today, because there definitely has to be a way to maximize the benefits of STAT’s prodigious offense, while finding a way to get enough stops to make sure he’s still a factor down the stretch of important games.

That being said, as good as Amar’e was in helping the Knicks rally to beat the Cavs, and as much as I still think the Melo/Amar’e pairing needs some fine-tuning, if because of a more prolonged Anthony absence we really end up having any of all that “Hey, I think we’re better WITHOUT Melo” hullabaloo I heard some quiet buzzing about yesterday, I’m really not sure I can handle it. Let’s just all promise we’re not going to do it, deal? Deal.

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