Amar'e Stoudemire said the Knicks' struggles are not coach Mike...

Amar'e Stoudemire said the Knicks' struggles are not coach Mike D'Antoni's fault. (undated file photo) Credit: AP

Amar'e Stoudemire has played most of his career for Mike D'Antoni and wants to continue playing for him.

Stoudemire defended his coach, saying the Knicks' struggles are not D'Antoni's fault. He said it's up to the players to do more and that he's not the only one who would like D'Antoni to remain the Knicks' coach.

"I think we all do," Stoudemire said. "We'd all love to have Mike coach us. We don't want to go through a drastic change midseason like that. We just got to play hard. We've got to give him the best opportunity to coach us and be coachable. We have to be coachable."

Stoudemire said he was unaware of reports that D'Antoni could have been coaching for his job this weekend. He said his only thought Saturday was getting a win. And the Knicks got one, beating the Nets, 99-92, behind backup point guard Jeremy Lin's 25 points and seven assists.

Lin's performance supported what Stoudemire, who also played for D'Antoni with the Suns, has been saying all season.

Stoudemire believes in D'Antoni's system, which is predicated on ball movement, point guard penetration and a heavy dose of pick-and-rolls. But the ball has stuck and there have been more isolations for Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire because they haven't had a point guard who can break down defenses consistently.

"You can see night in and night out how the system works," Stoudemire said. "If we keep that going, we'll be good."

D'Antoni said he's not "panicking" or concerned about his job. He believes the Knicks are close to turning things around.

They have been competing harder lately. Although the Knicks (9-15) have lost 11 of 14 games, they're 2-2 in the last four, and the two losses came down to the last possession against the Bulls and Celtics.

The Nets game began a stretch in which five of eight opponents currently have a worse record than the Knicks. If they want to take some heat off D'Antoni, beating those teams might help. "As players, we have to play hard and give Mike the best opportunity to coach us," Stoudemire said. "We have to be coachable. That goes for all of us. If we're not, it's going to be tough on him."

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