Amar'e: I'm as good as new

LONDON -– After his best game since his belated start to the current season, Amar'e Stoudemire declared he’s as good as new.

The New York Knicks forward had 17 points in Thursday’s win over the Detroit Pistons and was an inside presence offensively, making 11 of his 12 attempts from the foul line.

He’s still coming off the bench but he’s looking a lot more comfortable after eight games back.

STAT concedes he has not undergone a magical transformation into the extra defensive juggernaut the Knicks need to compensate for the loss of Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace. However, he is feeling more comfortable in an offensive system which no longer singles him out as a primary focus.

“It’s coming,” he stated. “It will just take more repetition, more experience, more practice. Offensively I’m definitely improving for sure and my main goal so far this season is to get better defensively so I’ll keep working on that.

“The timing’s definitely coming back. I feel just as good as I was before I was out with the injury. As far as timing, as far as explosiveness, I feel healthy and that’s definitely a positive. I think the minutes gradually improving is helping that recovery.”

With the Knicks flying back to New York Friday morning, coach Mike Woodson has yet to determine when his team will return to practice ahead of Monday’s Battle of the Big Apple against the Nets.

But Stoudemire, who has averaged 20.9 minutes per game so far, can expect to see more time on the court over the second half of the season.

“I think he’s started to figure out some things,” said Woodson.

“His conditioning has started to come and I think that will continue to grow, based on his minutes. He’ll continue to play positive minutes for us and we’ll need that.”