Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony look good in exhibition

New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire (1) blocks a New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire (1) blocks a shot by Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) during the second half of the South Florida All-Star Classic NBA basketball game in Miami. (Oct. 8, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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MIAMI -- It was only a charity exhibition.

But it was a look that Knicks fans are dreaming about once the NBA lockout ends.

Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony took part in the inaugural South Florida All-Star Classic Saturday night, an exhibition organized by the Heat's Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

The game drew a capacity crowd of roughly 4,000 fans to Florida International University.

Stoudemire and Anthony appeared healthy and ready for strong seasons. But even more intriguing was the the glimpse of what the tandem might be like should the two stars get an opportunity to match Miami's own Big Three.

Stoudemire and Anthony played on the same team with New Orleans guard Chris Paul. All three were in the starting lineup along with Wade on Team Wade, and they played well together early on.

Despite being an exhibition, the game had some inspired play on both sides as Wade's team won it in overtime, 141-140.

Anthony, who recently revealed he underwent surgery on his left knee and elbow in May for injuries he said had been bothering him for several seasons, scored 13 points in the first half and showed a good shooting touch. Anthony made the three-pointer that tied the game at 127 to send it to overtime. Stoudemire also made two key free throws in overtime.

Paul had three assists in the half, including one to Stoudemire, who moved well in the paint when matched up with Bosh. Stoudemire, whose first season with the Knicks ended with a back injury in Game 2 of last season's first-round series against Boston, didn't show any obvious ill effects Saturday night.

The game was another in a string of several offseason games involving NBA superstars during the ongoing lockout.

The proceeds of the game benefited the Mary's Court Foundation, which was established in honor of FIU coach Isiah Thomas' mother, the late Mary Thomas. The foundation works with disadvantaged youth and families in the Garfield Park and Lawndale areas on Chicago's West Side.

Thomas and his wife, Lynn, also donated $50,000 to the First Generation Scholarship Fund. The program created in 2006 by the Florida Legislature matches private donations, meaning the donation will have a total impact of $100,000 in scholarships.

"We are in awe of the presence here tonight and I can't tell you how proud my mother would be that a young generation of men coming out of poverty speaking up for education," Thomas said. "My mom served humanity. She fought for education, and as an NBA mom, when players would come into the league, she would reach out privately to their moms to tell them what they were about to go through. She always gave of herself. She was a staunch proponent of education."

On the 100th day since the NBA lockout was announced -- and with commissioner David Stern having said the first two weeks of the regular season might be canceled as early as Monday -- fans and players were jittery about the immediate future.

"This is very unfortunate, this situation, to be in when you have two sides that at the end of the day have the same goal, just two different ways of getting there," Wade said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We both want to grow this game. We both want the NBA to be as good as it can. We want everyone to succeed. But we both have two different ways of getting there.

"To know that you're close but you're so far away is sad in a sense," Wade added. "But that's the nature of business. The only thing we can do is keep plugging at it."

With AP

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