Amar'e Stoudemire looks on against the Utah Jazz at Madison...

Amar'e Stoudemire looks on against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Knicks faced the Utah Jazz on Friday night without Amar'e Stoudemire, who was given the day off to rest his knees.

Stoudemire, who turns 32 Sunday, had appeared in the Knicks' first nine games, averaging 10.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 23.6 minutes.

The Knicks will host Denver on Sunday and will play at Milwaukee on Tuesday and at Minnesota on Wednesday.

"Just trying to be smart about our entire season," coach Derek Fisher said. "Making sure that he's healthy for the balance of our season. We've had a big load to start the season for all of our guys, not just Amar'e . . . Hopefully, this is something we can do from time to time during the season. Allows Amar'e to play most of our games."

Stoudemire has started twice this season. He has shown traces of the explosiveness from his All-Star days.

"We like what Amar'e has been able to do as kind of our anchor in the post with the second unit," Fisher said. "I think that's what's worked for us at times."

Stoudemire did not speak to reporters before the game. Jason Smith started at power forward.

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Fisher was asked about NBA commissioner Adam Silver's recent opinion piece that suggested sports betting should be legalized. "I don't know where to go with that one," he said. "I've never bet on sports myself, so I don't know if I have an opinion about whether it should or shouldn't be. Obviously, he's entitled to his opinion. He's the commissioner." . . . The Knicks and the other teams playing on Christmas Day will wear special jerseys with players' first, and not last, names on the back. The Knicks host the Wizards at noon Dec. 25.

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