Knicks vs. Pacers: Amar'e Stoudemire confused with lack of playing time

USA TODAY Sports

Amar'e Stoudemire played poorly and sparingly in the playoffs after recovering from a second knee surgery, and is curious why coach Mike Woodson opted to leave him on the bench.

Amar'e Stoudemire feels the Knicks didn't properly use his talents in the postseason, griping about Mike Woodson's decision not to play him in the second half of Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers.

Stoudemire, who is owed $44 million over the next two seasons, missed most of the beginning of the season with knee debridement surgery. He had the same procedure in his other knee and didn't play any regular season games after March 7. But finally healthy, Stoudemire barely saw any action for the Knicks against the Pacers. He only played 5:47 in Game 6, all in the first half, even remaining on the pine when Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin fouled out late in the game.

Stoudemire felt slighted by the lack of playing time, per the New York Post:

“We didn’t give it a chance,’’ Stoudemire said after the Knicks’ season ended in heartbreak in a 106-99 loss to the Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. “We need to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table. It’s something I have to sit down with Coach Woody and express to him.’’

Stoudemire scored 15 points and committed nine fouls in sparing postseason minutes.

Mike Woodson made some confusing, often silly decisions while doling out minutes during the playoffs. He often decided to go big after a season of success with a small lineup. He played Jason Kidd, who literally did not hit a shot for over 200 minutes of game time. He stuck with a clearly injured Tyson Chandler, playing well past his utility. He took a team that attempted more three-point shots than any in NBA history and benched some of its best shooters. He let isolation happen at a historically high rate.

Failing to play Amar'e Stoudemire was not one of those confusing, often silly decisions. He's a ferocious scorer whose game was based around explosion and lacked any modicum of defense or rebounding, and after undergoing surgery on both knees, he lacked explosion, briefly looking competent but often not.

The Knicks have an awful lot of money invested in Stoudemire, and it's in their best interest to get on the same page with him. But nitpicking over playing time in a pretty season with an ugly ending isn't the way to go.

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