With the status of the veteran forward, along with Carmelo Anthony, still technically a game-time decision, both went into morning shootaround on their European detour at The 02 Arena with an optimistic mood as the Knicks attempt to end a 15-game skid.
New York Knicks
Since his knee feels improved, Stoudemire seems the more certain of the two players to get the green light to hit the floor in front of a sold-out 19,000-strong crowd. However, having averaged 26.4 minutes per game in his 28 appearances so far this season, STAT seems likely to be bound by some time restrictions as he feels his way back.
The biggest thing, he said, is making some contribution to lift the Knicks' mood. “It means a lot. The guys need our help. It’s been a tough season so far for us, so the more men we have on the court the better.”
A less than fully healthy Stoudemire is nothing new. Early in the season, there were notional limits on his playing time but with all help required, he has no regrets now about letting those slide.
“You’re trying to win,” he added. “You do whatever it takes to win. Sometimes your will takes over. I wish we’d have won more games but that happens all the time across the NBA: guys push through. It’s a challenge. When you’re competitive. You want to compete every night.”
The personnel bump will force head coach Derek Fisher to render someone inactive for a game that will start at 3 p.m. ET, with Lou Amundson looking the most likely candidate to make way.
Fisher views the improving collective health as a positive. Yet with the Bucks 2-0 over New York this season –- even with Anthony available and scoring a game-high 26 points in a 117-113 loss in November -- the presence of two All-Stars offers no magic potion.
“Where we have to remind the guys who have been there without them the last couple of weeks is that you can’t stop playing because they’re back,” Fisher said.
“You still have to trust yourself and trust your instincts and stop playing your game just to facilitate their game.”
Milwaukee will bring back Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova, who had 20 points in that November contest, after sitting out 10 games due to concussion.