Amar’e Stoudemire participated in his first scrimmage Monday in a 3-on-3 at their practice facility and appeared to have a ways to go after getting outplayed by third-string center Earl Barron.
Stoudemire is still shooting to make his return Saturday in Game 3 but looked winded and out of rhythm and plain rusty. Barron blocked two of Stoudemire's inside shots, he blew a dunk and had Barron score on him a couple of times in the post during the 3-on-3. Mike Woodson and the entire coaching staff watched the scrimmage.
“It feels good to finally be on the court (in) competition,’’ Stoudemire said. “I had a tough day today but it felt really good.’’
Stoudemire hasn’t played since March 7th after undergoing his second knee debridement surgery of the season. He played alongside Marcus Camby and James White in the blue shirts facing the white-shirt trio of Barron, Chris Copeland and Quentin Richardson. When it ended, he lay on the floor on his back in exhaustion.
“I had no pain running, cutting slashing - I felt explosive,’’ Stoudemire said. “The one thing is getting my wind back up and go from there.
Stoudemire will rest Tuesday and hopes to scrimmage Wednesday and Friday. The Knicks had the good fortune of having three days off between Games 2 and 3.
If Stoudemire is right, the Knicks can use his size against the rugged Pacers, who outmuscled the Knicks in Game 1’s 103-97 victory.
“Bad, extremely bad,’’ Stoudemire said when asked how badly he wants back. “I can’t take it. That’s why I sometimes stay in the back and watch the game on TV and just rehab in the back. Sitting right there on the bench, watching the game is very hard for me.’‘
There was talk in the locker room of making a lineup change for Tuesday’s Game 2 and go bigger but Mike Woodson will stand pat. The idea, proposed by Kenyon Martin, was moving Carmelo Anthony back to his regular position of small forward and go with a traditional frontcourt.
Woodson said he’s not ready to do that tomorrow but it’s something that could be considered later on in the series if the Knicks struggle on the boards.
“Not right now,’’ Woodson said of a starting lineup change. “It’s too early in the series. We held our own to start the game. It had nothing to do with who started at the 4 or 5. We came out of the quarter up five points. Melo didn’t get one foul guarding David West."