STAT unlikely to start despite post growth

Amar'e Stoudemire spent two weeks working with Hakeem Olajuwon on post moves over the summer.

The Knicks big man got a chance to show the fruits of his labor Sunday.

Stoudemire had three strong moves around the basket against New Orleans, one of which came over Hornets big man Anthony Davis. It was a positive development in Stoudemire's attempt to come back from left knee surgery.

"That's something I've been training for and working hard on all summer," Stoudemire said after scoring 12 points and grabbing three rebounds in 23 minutes on Sunday. "You guys are starting to get a small glimpse of my hard work that I put forth this summer. Hopefully as [I] continue to play, get in better shape and get back into a rhythm, you'll see more of that. I'll become more sharp and more efficient."

For his first bucket of the game, Stoudemire had a strong move with his back to the basket on New Orleans' Jason Smith. Stoudemire added a baseline spin move on Smith in the second quarter, which he finished with a reverse layup.

Coach Mike Woodson was encouraged by what he saw.

"He'll get better as the year goes on," Woodson said. "I think if we give him more touches down there and his minutes start to grow a little bit ... he's going to be just fine."

Another positive for Stoudemire on Sunday? Woodson said before the game that his minutes limit increased to 25-30.

Stoudemire's minutes had been capped at 20-23 by the Knicks' medical staff earlier in the week.

But Stoudemire will continue to come off the bench for the time being, Woodson said.

Woodson has said he wouldn't consider inserting Stoudemire into the starting lineup until his minutes are no longer restricted. When asked about the possibility of starting Stoudemire on Sunday, Woodson was evasive.

"Again, we're just going to gradually play him and see how things go and [Sunday] he'll come off the bench," the coach said.