Amare Stoudemire said he plans to play in both of the Knicks' remaining regular seasons games, as long as New York has an opportunity to move up in the standings during those games.
The Knicks have an outside chance of moving up to the sixth seed if they win their final two games and Orlando loses its final two. They are in seventh place in the East and can clinch seventh with two wins or two Philly losses. A Knicks win and Philly loss will also clinch seventh for New York.
"If it matters and it comes down to the last game, we’re going to try to win," Stoudemire said. "It depends on what Orlando does. If they lose and we have a chance to move up our seed we’ll go for it."
If not, there is a chance Stoudemire can sit in the Knicks' final game Thursday against Charlotte.
The Knicks power forward has played two games since missing nearly four weeks with a bulging disk in his lower back.
He had 15 points and just three rebounds in his first game back, a loss in Cleveland. Stoudemire came out stronger Sunday in Atlanta, scoring 22 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Stoudemire also thrived in the pick and roll on Sunday with Tyson Chandler on the bench. Those hopping for Woodson to split up Stoudemire and Chandler in an effort to get Stoudemire more opportunities at the rim will have to wait. Woodson said the team would go forward with its front like of Carmelo Anthony, Chandler and Stoudemire.
Coach Woodson will figure out the best way to get us both involved in the pick-and-roll," Stoudemire said. "We’re both are pretty good at that. We’ll see how it turns out."
Stoudemire and Chandler de-emphasized the idea thatall three players need time to regain chemistry before the start of the playoffs.
"We more so need practice and teaching," Chandler said. "We’re finding ways that Melo and Amare are both a threat, when it comes down to the offense. Sometimes it’s tweaking the offense, putting them in different places so that they both feel comfortable at the same time."
PLAYOFF ATMOSPHERE AT PRACTICE: Chandler said some Knicks came into practice Tuesday expecting to be able to take it easy. But Woodson had other plans.
"Coach said, 'None of that' and told them to get focused," Chandler said.
In their first practice since clinching a playoff berth last Thursday, Woodson and the Knicks created a playoff atmosphere.
"Today’s practice was different than the last couple of practices have been," Chandler said. "We got after it a little bit, got up and down the floor. Coach was very serious about his message that he wanted to get across."
The Knicks still don't know their first-round opponent, but Woodson and his staff have started to prepare for Miami, Chicago and Indiana, in that order.
"We had a big meeting this morning about that and we'll continue to prep and get everything in place depending on who we turn out to play," Woodson said.
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