Pistons at Knicks Game Preview - Jan. 30, 2011
Amare Stoudemire has revitalized the New York Knicks by giving the franchise an All-Star starter for the first time in nearly two decades. Now the club is hoping he won't miss his first action of the season.
It's unclear whether Stoudemire will be available for the Knicks on Sunday night when they host the Detroit Pistons, who have major personnel issues of their own.
Stoudemire has quickly emerged as the leader in his first season with New York (24-22), averaging team highs of 26.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He's set to become the first Knick to start in the All-Star game since Patrick Ewing in 1992.
More importantly, Stoudemire has not missed a game this season after undergoing six knee surgeries in eight years, a major reason why Phoenix was willing to part with him.
The power forward, though, left Friday's 111-102 loss at Atlanta in the third quarter when the Hawks' Marvin Williams fell into the back of his knees. Stoudemire limped off the court but soon returned, and there was no X-ray taken.
"It's a little sore now but we'll see how it feels (Saturday)," said Stoudemire, who had 27 points but only three rebounds.
His loss would obviously be a major blow for a Knicks team that has dropped seven of nine.
New York will be without reserve forward Shawne Williams, suspended one game Saturday for throwing punches during an altercation with Marvin Williams. The incident began when the Atlanta player pushed him in the back.
"I don't know what happened, really," Shawne Williams said. "I was basically protecting myself. I was coming across half-court. He bumped me, I bumped him, and he (hit) me in the back of the head. ... I wasn't swinging at him, I was just trying to protect myself."
Detroit (17-30) played without Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Wallace in an 88-87 loss at Miami on Friday. The Pistons led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter.
"We're better than our record," coach John Kuester said. "What we have to do is continue to play the rest of the season this way and hopefully good things will happen."
Hamilton has missed 10 straight games and was out Friday with the flu. Stuckey sat out with a bruised right shoulder suffered Wednesday, while Wallace was not with the team due to a family matter. The status of all three for Sunday is uncertain.
Ben Gordon had 21 points and second-year forward Austin Daye scored 19 in his first start since Nov. 17, though he missed a contested dunk off a lob on the final play.
"I'm so proud of our guys," Kuester told the Pistons' official website. "They're playing so hard and trying to do things the right way."
Tracy McGrady, averaging 16.0 points in his last three games, will return to New York for the first time since his 24-game stint with the Knicks last season.
New York won 125-116 in double overtime at Detroit on Nov. 28 in the teams' lone meeting of 2010-11. Stoudemire had 37 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists while Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince combined for 60 points.