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Amar'e Stoudemire helps spark Knicks' recent surge

Amar'e Stoudemire looks on against the Milwaukee Bucks

Amar'e Stoudemire looks on against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Mar. 15, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Mike Woodson believes you can't understate the impact Amar'e Stoudemire's resurgence has had on the way the Knicks are performing this month.

Stoudemire is performing better than he has since before he was injured in the playoffs two years ago. After playing in only 29 games in 2012-13, he has been in 54 this season. In his last eight games entering Sunday night, he averaged 18.5 points and shot 58.8 percent, and the Knicks went 7-1.

During an 8-2 March heading into last night, Stoudemire was averaging 18.0 points and 6.6 rebounds. He had scored at least 21 points four times and had 22 points, shot 10-for-15 and grabbed 10 rebounds in Friday night's 93-92 win in Philadelphia. He had 12 points and six rebounds in Sunday night's 106-100 loss to the Cavs.

"I think the fact that Amar'e has come into his own [is a big factor]," Woodson said. "He's gone from baby minutes to NBA minutes. It helps that he's playing like that. It's great to see it for him and us."

No Kyrie, no cry

The Knicks had to breathe a sigh of relief that Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving was not available for Sunday night's game. Irving, who is out with a biceps injury, usually has his way with the Knicks. In the previous six Knicks-Cavaliers games, he averaged 30.8 points.

Iman has flu-like ailment

Iman Shumpert was suffering from flu-like symptoms and did not play Sunday night. Woodson said Andrea Bargnani, who has a torn ligament in his left elbow, has been running but hasn't had contact in practice. Kenyon Martin (sore left ankle) has been limited to a stationary bike. Woodson hopes Bargnani and Martin will return before the end of the season.

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