Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see in the limited amount of time STAT and ‘Melo found themselves on the floor together. Anthony was by far the superior player during the contest, putting up a season-high-matching 45 points in a 105-100 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stoudemire was ineffective and rusty, earning just 17 minutes from coach Mike Woodson and hitting on just 3-of-8 shot attempts. He finished with six points, one rebound, one block and two turnovers.
It was the second time in as many games that the Knicks coughed up a huge lead early on and wound up playing from a deficit that seemed insurmountable.
‘Melo attempted to shoot his team back into it, explaining why the talented swingman went 14-of-24 shooting (5-of-11 from three) and scored a ton of points against the lowly Blazers.
There’s no way this trend continues, and sooner or later the Knicks will find themselves involved in competitive contests. They will need their best lineups on the floor in order to win, and—theoretically—that includes Anthony and Stoudemire.
It is no question that Woodson is going to draw up plays for the oft-injured Stoudemire to get him back into the swing of things, and the coach has even admitted as much.
As per Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
We've just got to keep working with him. He was kind of rushing a little bit. You expect that. The guy's been sitting out a while and you throw him in there and he's excited to play. But he'll be fine. We'll get him back to the old Amar'e.
However, the “old Amar’e” is a player that didn’t work well with Anthony and was a large reason why the Knicks struggled to mesh in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign.
Without STAT in the lineup, Anthony took control of the franchise and is averaging 29.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, two assists and one steal. The forward led the Knicks to a 21-9 record before Stoudemire’s return and had the team competing for a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Those numbers are undoubtedly going to take a major dip when Stoudemire is back in the lineup and getting his regular minutes.
STAT is used to taking nearly 15 shots per game during his career and plays an average of 34.4 minutes. His touches are going to cut into Anthony’s and the results could be disastrous.
In fact, it could ruin the tenuous chemistry and successful recipe that the Knicks worked so hard to cultivate in the offseason. It’s a formula that has worked through more than a third of the NBA season so far but might have a Stoudemire-sized wrench thrown into it now.
Hopefully, this doesn’t throw the team off too much, but it’s definitely clear that ‘Melo will no longer average nearly 30 points a night with STAT active.