Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Stoudemire a ‘Gametime Decision,’ Billups Questionable
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Amar’e Stoudemire is a game-time decision for Friday’s Game 3 against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden, while Chauncey Billups remains questionable.
“Gametime decision and we’re pretty optimistic,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, whose team is down 0-2 in the series, said of Stoudemire Friday after shootaround.
As for Billups, the coach said: “He’ll try to test it a little bit, but a less loss probability.”
Neither player was available to the media Friday.
Stoudemire suffered back spasms prior to Game 2 and missed the entire second half.
After getting treatment at home on Thursday, Stoudemire walked through plays with his teammates during Friday’s shootaround.
“He walked through with us today,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We didn’t do any running. We just walked through some plays. I think he’s a game-time decision.”
Billups has a strained tendon in his left knee suffered in the final minute of Game 1.
He received a cortisone shot on Wednesday and hasn’t practiced or played since Game 1 on Sunday.
“I saw Chauncey this morning in the training room,” Anthony said. “He was doing some treatment, getting some work done, so I really don’t know what’s going to happen at this moment.
“My focus is just right now to prepare like they’re not even going to be playing tonight. And if they do, that’s a plus.”
On Thursday, Billups sounded like it would be a big struggle just to run up and down the court.
“If I can’t even run or jump, that’s a big deal for basketball,” Billups said Thursday. “It’s sore and [the cortisone shot] probably made it a little more sore today.
“Hopefully, a best-case scenario is it calms down [Friday].”
Anthony put up 42 points, 17 rebounds and six assists in Tuesday’s 96-93 loss in Game 2 in Boston.
If Stoudemire and/or Billups can’t go, Anthony expects the Celtics to continue to double- and triple-team him.
“I think right now, if they’re thinking the way that I’m thinking, that Chauncey might not be there, then I’m pretty sure they’re focusing a lot more on what to do to stop me,” Anthony said.
Anthony was criticized for taking a 3-pointer in the final seconds of Game 1, and took heat again for passing to Jared Jeffries in the final ticks of Game 2. Neither play worked out for the Knicks.
“I think I gotta be patient, but at the same time still have to be aggressive,” he said. “Without them two guys out there, with the guys that we have on the team right now, I think I have to make them better just as much as I have to score out there.”
No NBA team has ever come back from 0-3 down, so this is pretty much a must-win for the Knicks.
It is the Knicks’ first home playoff game since 2004, when they were swept in four games by the Nets. They have not won a postseason game since April 29, 2001.
“We’re very confident,” Anthony said. “The guys on the team, they’re excited about this game tonight. They know how important this game is. We”re out there on our home court. We want to take care of that tonight.”
**’Melo ready to play 48 minutes in ‘must-win’ Game 3
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.