The Knicks have lost two straight and four of their last 10 following a four-game winning streak that some on the team thought could be the turning point in their up-and-down season.
But after two demoralizing defeats — a 15-point loss to the Heat at home on Saturday and Monday’s last-second loss to the Bucks — head coach Mike Woodson is again looking for answers.
The Trail Blazers (34-14) are up Wednesday night at the Garden, and while they are among the league’s elite, they might actually be a remedy for the Knicks. The Blazers are allowing 103.3 points per game, good for 27th in the league, which means scoring could be in abundance. New York is currently averaging just 96.9 points per game (22nd in the league).
“Amar’e [Stoudemire] is going to get back to getting his minutes because he was playing well for us [before his ankle injury],” said Woodson.
Stoudemire played only five minutes against Miami and 17 minutes against the Bucks, but with a rest and recovery day on Tuesday, Woodson thinks his power forward will be ready to handle more minutes.
Stoudemire’s rising presence may mean less time for Jeremy Tyler, who excelled in his role during Stoudemire’s two-week absence.
“Jeremy probably won’t be playing the big minutes that he was playing, which means he’ll probably be one of the guys that have to be that fourth or fifth big,” said Woodson. “But I’m not going to forget about him, because I think he deserves some minutes here as of late.”
Stoudemire actually sounded frustrated during his media time following Tuesday’s session, repeatedly saying “coach’s decision” when asked about his sparse action the last two games. The power forward scored seven points in his 16:31 minutes of work against the Bucks, but hopes Woodson will give him more minutes and responsibilities on Wednesday, adding he feels up to the task.
“I feel great. I am ready to play more. From a doctor’s standpoint, there haven’t been limitations of any kind since the first week of the season,” Stoudemire said. “We can’t keep saying [there are minutes] limitations. … That’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day. It’s up to him if he wants to play me or not.”
Knicks notes …
»The Knicks will play 17 of their next 25 games on the road.
»The Knicks are 11-16 at home.
»Monday’s loss to the Bucks was the 29th loss for the Knicks so far. They had 28 defeats all of last season.
»New York averaged over 116 points per game during their four-game winning streak against some of the league’s dregs — the Celtics, Lakers Bobcats and Cavaliers.
»Wednesday night’s home tilt with Portland was changed from the usual 7:30 p.m. tipoff to 8 p.m., as it’ll be a nationally-televised game on ESPN.
»Point guard Raymond Felton seems to be in stealth mode as he once again ducked the media. It was Felton who allowed the Bucks point guard Brandon Knight to knock down the game-winning 3-pointer in Milwaukee – only to leave the locker room early afterwards. And following Tuesday’s session, he was “unavailable” to the media again.
»Stoudemire has already played in more games this season (35) than last year (29).
»Tyler had filled in nicely for Stoudemire and Keyon Martin, averaging 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds during the recent four-game winning streak.
»Carmelo Anthony said he still thinks the team is “on the right track,” regardless of the two-game slide and said he feels the biggest attribute the team needs is confidence.
“I think that’s where we have to get better at … and we need to show more of a consistency factor,” Anthony said. “We need to get back to playing freely and having fun. I don’t want to let this [slump] get anybody down or get us down as a team.”
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.