D'Antoni Will Rest Stoudemire in Preseason | Zagsblog
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Friday / July 12.
  • D’Antoni Will Rest Stoudemire in Preseason

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    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks have five years and $100 million invested in Amar’e Stoudemire, and they aren’t about to treat that investment lightly.

    So even though Stoudemire poured in 30 points in 27 minutes in Wednesday night’s 104-101 exhibition loss to the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said he would likely sit Stoudemire for the team’s next preseason game, against the Celtics Saturday night in Hartford, Conn.

    “I think every team is doing that with their starters,” said Stoudemire, who sat out the fourth quarter against the Celtics. “Boston did it last week. Shaq [O’Neal] didn’t play last [Wednesday] night. So I think every team is doing that just for the simple fact of getting ready for the regular season. So it’s really no biggie.”

    D’Antoni said Stoudemire will likely play on Sunday against the Washington Wizards at MSG.

    The Knicks have another set of back-to-backs Tuesday and Wednesday against the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, and Stoudemire could miss one of those as well.

    “Because we’re paying him a lot of money and he’s had injuries and we don’t want to be crazy about it,” D’Antoni said. “No use playing him back-to-back when you don’t have to, and he’s getting his work in anyway.”

    D’Antoni said Stoudmire might also get additional rest the day after games as well.

    “Probably,” he said. “Because this is a five-year commitment. It’s not just a one-year thing. We want to be smart about it, keep him in his rhythm but yet understand who he is and what he is and try, with our trainers, to figure out the best schedule for him.”

    Stoudemire wasn’t able to play with Team USA at the World Championships in Turkey in August because the Knicks couldn’t get insurance on his surgically repaired knee.

    Yet Stoudemire spent time in Israel, Montana and the Caribbean island of Anguilla and said he feels as healthy as ever because he trained all summer.

    “I feel great, top shape,” he said. “Physicality is at an all-time high. I’m healthy. I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”

    D’Antoni coached Stoudemire in Phoenix but believes he is a better player now than he was then.

    “You could arguably say that from the All-Star break on last year, he was the best player in the NBA,” he said. “You could ask the Phoenix guys and they’ll tell you for sure he is.”

    When Stoudemire is out, D’Antoni will likely take a look at Wilson Chandler at the four spot.

    “It lets us get more of an opportunity to see what [center Timofey] Mozgov can do, what Will at the four can do, how we look with different guys in case Amar’e’s not there,” the coach said. “Get other guys scoring on track, get them some time, so there’ s a lot of benefits you can throw into it.”

    So far, Stoudemire has been a one-man gang during the preseason, averaging an NBA-best 24.3 points through three games.

    Danillo Gallinari finished with 11 points on 2 of 8 shooting against the Celtics. Chandler had 13 points and 5 rebounds. And Raymond Felton missed 8 of 11 shot attempts, finishing with 7 points and 6 assists.

    Still, D’Antoni said he was confident that “other guys will step up.”

    Stoudemire said he will do whatever it takes to win, even if that means challenging LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for the scoring title.

    “I’ve always been a great scorer,” he said. “Scoring is not really an issue for me. I think that’s going to happen.

    “Defensively is where the challenge is. That’s where the challenge lies.”

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    D’Antoni said he likes rookie Landry Fields and that he could potentially start Saturday. “I’m thinking about it,” he said. Fields scored 6 points in 15 minutes Wednesday…Stoudemire was high on Mozgov, who finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds. “He carried us in the first quarter, so great job on his part.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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