Coach's report: Amar'e doing well

BOSTON -- After Tuesday morning's shootaround at the TD Garden, Knicks coach Mike Woodson was asked to share the latest on Amar'e Stoudemire's recovery from right knee debridement.

"He's still going through rehab and things are going well for him, so we've just got to stay the process and see what happens," Woodson said of Stoudemire, who has been working out a bit at the Knicks' practice facility.

There is still no tentative return date for Stoudemire, who was slated to be out approximately six weeks after the March 13 procedure. When he had left knee debridement last October, he missed about eight weeks.

It's important to note that if Stoudemire returns during the playoffs, the Knicks' training staff will need to make sure he's prepared for the grueling, physical contact of the postseason.

SMITH HAS 'GOTTEN BETTER': J.R. Smith shot 52 percent from the field over the past three games. He's also playing consistent defense -- one steal per game during that stretch -- and being aggressive driving to the basket in transition and half-court sets.

Since March 14, when the Knicks were struggling on the West Coast -- and Smith's outside shot went missing -- he made it a point of attacking the paint more and drawing fouls. Without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks were lacking free throw attempts, but Smith has been better at taking his game inside in the past six games.

Woodson praised his most polarizing player's improved offensive balance.

"I still think he's learning, but I think he's gotten better in mixing it up a little bit," Woodson said. "He hasn't been just one-dimensional. He's shooting free throws. His game is starting to come around and [he's being] an all-around shooting guard, and that's what we're going to need him to be as we continue this journey."

COULD THE KNICKS BE THE ONE? The Knicks and Heat square off next Tuesday in Miami, where the 'Bockers have already stolen one this season, on Dec. 6.

Could they do it again -- and this time perhaps snap Miami's winning streak? If the Heat don't lose between now and then -- they visit Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio -- their streak will be at 30 games when the Knicks visit.

"Man, they're playing at such a high level. No one's coming close and beating them," Woodson said. "But that would be nice. That streak could end [against the Bulls and Spurs]. That's two good teams. They're going to have to really play to beat those two teams. But if they're undefeated and we go into Miami, hopefully we can be the team to break their streak."

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