LONDON - Amar'e Stoudemire felt much better than he played.
Stoudemire took one shot and was scoreless with two rebounds in eight minutes in the Knicks' 95-79 loss to the Bucks on Thursday. He had missed the previous nine games with a sore right knee. "I felt great,'' he said. "I didn't feel rust at all.''
Stoudemire started but didn't play in the second half because the game was out of hand. He expects to play Monday against the Pelicans. "I'm back,'' he said. "I'm back on the court.''
Andrea Bargnani was the only Knick not to travel to London for this four-night trip, fueling the belief that he could be on borrowed time with the team.
Derek Fisher said it was better for Bargnani, who has appeared in two games this season, to stay in New York and get treatment on his strained right calf.
"There's not as much that we can do here,'' Fisher said. "The schedule's a little bit challenging in that regard. Knowing he wasn't going to be able to play either way, we just felt that was the best way to handle it.''
The Knicks hope to deal Bargnani before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, but his value is low. If he can't be moved, they could waive him after the deadline.
Fisher owns rough start
Fisher appreciates team president Phil Jackson's taking responsibility for the Knicks' woes. "In terms of myself, I own where we are and where I am,'' he said. "So it really isn't about blame or not. It's about ownership and accountability. That doesn't change for me. If we win 15 games in a row, you won't see me dancing around. It will just be part of the process of what we're trying to do. I don't take blame. I just take it and try to work hard to get better.''
NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn't think the struggles of the Knicks and Nets have affected the interest and anticipation of their shared All-Star Weekend next month.
"I know as a New Yorker, I don't think the interest in people's favorite teams wanes necessarily because the team isn't successful in a particular year,'' Silver said. "I expect tremendous excitement around the game and the festivities in New York. Based on the number of requests I'm getting for tickets, there's no lack of interest.''
The Garden will host the celebrity game Feb. 13 and the All-Star Game Feb. 15. Barclays Center will house the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge Feb. 13 and the All-Star Saturday night events.
For the first time this season, the Knicks had 14 players available and had to deactivate a "healthy'' body, rookie Cleanthony Early. Fisher said he chose him so he could take a look at some of the players on 10-day contracts . . . The Knicks lost Shane Larkin in the fourth quarter to a sprained left ankle.