Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t plan to rest Amare Stoudemire in the season’s final six games – even if the Knicks are locked into a playoff seed.
D’Antoni said before Tuesday’s Knicks-Raptors game that he currently had no plans to sit Stoudemire, who entered Tuesday averaging a career-high 37 minutes per game and complained of fatigue in late March.
“Amare’s good. I think his legs were a lot better last game and we have a few days where we can give him rest (during practice days),” D’Antoni said.
Stoudemire has had major surgery on both knees. He missed one game this season due to a sprained right big toe. He was questionable for another due to knee pain.
D’Antoni said he may change his mind in the coming days and decide to rest Stoudemire. He will consult with Stoudemire and team doctors as the Knicks play out the stretch.
.500 CLUB:If the Knicks can win four of their final six games, they can finish with a winning record for the first time since 2000-2001 – the last season they won a playoff game. But that’s not a big deal to D’Antoni. He says he’s more concerned with the team’s chemistry and health entering the postseason.
“I don’t think (finishing over .500 is) a goal of ours, but that would be nice,” the coach said.
SCOUTS HONOR: The Knicks have scouts watching the Bulls, Heat and Celtics in advance of the postseason. D’Antoni said his staff hasn’t done any further preparation work. The Knicks will likely finish sixth or seventh and face either Miami or Boston, who are battling for the second seed in the East.
CENTURY MARK: D’Antoni was one win shy of his 100thas Knicks coach entering play on Tuesday.
“How long have I been here, about 10 years?” the coach joked when someone brought up the milestone.
D’Antoni’s teams won 32 and 29 games in the past two years as Donnie Walsh gutted and rebuilt the roster.
“I’ll tell you what, those 100 wins were tough,” the coach said.
DEBUSSCHERE AWARD WINNERS:The Knicks honored 17-year-old Michelle Valle and 18-year-old Jamal Johnson for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the court.
Valle, a senior at Manhattan Center HS, ranks in the top 20 percent in her class and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House. Johnson, a senior at Frederick Douglas Academy in Harlem, ranks in the 94th percentile in his class volunteers at the Special Olympics.
Both played integral roles on their schools’ basketball team as well.
GOING GREEN: Knicks and Raptors players wore green headbands to honor the NBA's "Green Week."