You can say this much regarding Amar'e Stoudemire: the second night of his return from knee surgery was better than the first.
In his second game back following a two-month absence, Stoudemire sorely lacked explosiveness, but he cleaned up some of his defensive miscues in the Knicks' 100-83 win over the Spurs.
The power forward finished with 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting and grabbed two rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
He did have his shot blocked three times -- including twice on one possession by Tiago Splitter. The lack of explosion is understandable, though after a two-month layoff.
After the game, Stoudemire chose to focus on the improvements he made on his pick-and-roll defense. "I was definitely more comfortable defensively after watching so much film and studying and listening to the coaching staff," he said.
There were a few rough moments Thursday, but Stoudemire didn't have as many glaring slip-ups as he did in his season debut Tuesday against the Trail Blazers.
The $100 million forward also believes he will get back into the flow on offense in time.
Stoudemire opened the game with a nice turnaround jumper on the baseline over Boris Diaw. But he had the ball stripped several times, and appeared out of sync when he had the ball in the post.
"I’m still not as sharp as I want to be offensively," Stoudemire said. "But it comes with the territory. I haven’t played in (eight) months. ... That’s going to come."
Stoudemire played 16 minutes in his debut, and was encouraged by the increase in playing time in game No. 2. "I got a little bit tired out there (but) I feel that I’m in better shape than I thought I would be at this point," Stoudemire said.
He estimated that it would take five to 10 games before he felt like himself. His teammates understand that it won't happen overnight.
"He's getting better and better," Carmelo Anthony said. "We know it's going to take some time, he knows that. So we try to take (pressure) off of him."
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