Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert game-time decisions
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks' recent dependence on second-round pick Josh Harrellson and the three-point shot could come to an end as soon as Wednesday night with the return of Amar'e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire, who missed two games after spraining his left ankle in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, practiced Tuesday and said he will see how his ankle responds this morning to determine his status for Wednesday night's game against Charlotte.
With the potential return of Stoudemire, who will be a game-time decision, the Knicks should benefit from offensive balance and higher percentage shots. The Knicks hit only 10 of 35 three-pointers and shot just 35.9 percent from the field in a 90-85 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
"I didn't do much as far as physical play but I was able to get out there, step back on the basketball court and see how it feels," Stoudemire said. "It was tough watching [Monday night] so I can't wait to get back out there to really give us that push that we need."
The Knicks managed to overcome Stoudemire's absence in a win at Sacramento on New Year's Eve. But against the Raptors, they relied heavily on outside shots and struggled to make them, especially in the second quarter when they made just 3 of 19 field goals and entered the half trailing by 17.
The Knicks also could be getting some much-needed help in the backcourt with the return of rookie Iman Shumpert, who also is a game-time decision. Shumpert, who sprained his MCL in the season opener against the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day, originally was expected to miss 2-4 weeks but practiced Tuesday with no limitations.
"I'm young and I'm pretty healthy all the time," said Shumpert, who will continue to wear a knee brace. "I bounce back from injuries pretty quick. I was kind of leaning on my youth to get me back quick."
With the injuries to Stoudemire and Shumpert, who were teammates in a three-on-three scrimmage at practice yesterday, Mike D'Antoni said that many players have been asked to do things they aren't necessarily ready to do, like Harrellson being thrust into a starting role. D'Antoni also said that the 35 three-point attempts weren't necessarily a product of settling for shots but taking the best available open shots and failing to connect. "I think we can get some fast-break points, we can get our tempo up a little bit, get easier buckets, get in the lane more," D'Antoni said. "We'll get more twos at the rim when Amar'e comes back."