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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Grunwald: Amare will bounce back

By Ian Begley

Knicks interim GM Glen Grunwald believes Amare Stoudemire will bounce back from his season-long struggles.

An MVP candidate in 2011, Stoudmire averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 blocks per game, while shooting 50.2 percent last year. This season, he's dropped to 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.7 blocks per game, while shooting 44.7 percent.

In an interview on ESPN New York 1050's "The Michael Kay Show" on Tuesday, Grunwald noted that Stoudemire was playing well before his brother, Hazell, died in a car crash earlier this month. Stoudemire spent a week away from the team to mourn his brother's death.

Since his return, Stoudemire has averaged 17.2 points per game on 16.2 attempts (44.4 percent).

"I think we've just got to be patient with him," Grunwald said. "He was playing very well before he had that tragedy in his family and I expect him to get back to that level shortly."

Some have noted that Stoudemire has lacked an explosiveness in his game. He has gotten his shot blocked frequently this season and hasn't finished around the rim with the same ferocity he showed last year.

Grunwald has noticed the issue but believes it's related to time Stoudemire missed while mourning his brother.

"He has had that issue in the games but I think if you look at the games immediately before he went to his brother's funeral he had that pop," the Knicks interim GM said.

Grunwald also believes Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony will be able to co-exist on the floor. But he hinted that both players needed to 'buy in' to Mike D'Antoni's system.

D'Antoni 's offense is predicated on ball movement. Stoudemire has publicly implored teammates all season long to focus on spacing and ball movement. So Grunwald may have been sending a message to Anthony, who had 11 points and six assists in his return to the floor on Monday after a seven-game absence.

"We've talked about that with the coaching staff and we think we can get it to work," Grunwald said when asked about the chemistry between Anthony and Stoudemire. ".... What we have to do as a team is really buy in and believe in what the coach is trying to do and be patient."