MONTREAL — The first time Amar’e Stoudemire got the ball in the post, he spun quickly on Andrea Bargnani and scored on a short turnaround jumper from the baseline. A little later, Stoudemire tried another post move on Bargnani — and the Raptors’ big man rejected it.
This was Stoudemire’s first preseason game and his first time trying out some of the low-post moves he worked on with Hakeem Olajuwon during the offseason. He had some strong moves but also appeared to be trying too hard to make plays in the post in the Knicks’ 107-88 loss Friday night at the Bell Centre.
Stoudemire, who missed the first two preseason games with a bone bruise in his left knee, had 18 points and shot 8-for-11 in 27 minutes.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 24 points. This was the team’s first preseason loss in three games, so someone, somewhere, will say Anthony and Stoudemire can’t work together. But defense was the Knicks’ biggest issue. They allowed Toronto to shoot 12-for-26 from three-point range.
Stoudemire looked rusty at times, picking up five fouls and turning it over three times. But he seems to have gotten back some of his explosiveness after a season plagued by injuries.
He threw down a ferocious slam after a drive-and-dish from Raymond Felton. He also had a big dunk after taking a pass from Pablo Prigioni off a pick-and-roll. The pick-and-roll will be a big part of Mike Woodson’s offense and remains Stoudemire’s strongest point.
Woodson said he might sit Stoudemire for Saturday night’s preseason game against Boston in Albany because he doesn’t want to “burn” him.
Still hobbled Ronnie Brewer and Marcus Camby made the three-game trip, but Camby (calf) won’t play and Brewer (knee) might not, either. Woodson said they have to go through contact practice first ... Woodson said J.R. Smith (Achilles/ankle), who didn’t travel, won’t have an MRI. Smith’s foot has been in a walking boot.