The New York Knicks did just fine without Amare Stoudemire at the start of the season. Now they'll have to deal with his absence some more because of knee surgery that will keep him out approximately six weeks.
The Knicks, already dealing with a knee issue to All-Star Carmelo Anthony, will begin a five-game western road trip Monday against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Before a 113-84 trouncing of the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, the Knicks announced that Stoudemire will miss about six weeks with a knee injury that will require surgery. The knee debridement procedure will remove dead or damaged tissue or bone in order to heal the injured area.
New York went 21-9 at the start of the season while Stoudemire recovered from offseason knee surgery. He is averaging 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds coming off the bench this season.
New York has played without Anthony the last three games due to a balky right knee suffered in last Monday's close win at Cleveland. He then missed a win at Detroit, then sat out Thursday's 95-94 home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and was out for the Jazz game. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said a few days ago Anthony is "still day-to-day." 'Melo is second in the NBA with 28.2 ppg and is listed as questionable, according to the team's game notes.
Anthony may return for a homecoming tilt with Denver on Wednesday.
J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 24 points off the bench versus Utah and 3-point specialist Steve Novak buried 5-of-10 from downtown for 20 points. Raymond Felton chipped in 15 points for the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks, who have won six of eight games and are second in the East standings.
With both Anthony and Stoudemire nursing injuries, the scoring load will most likely rest on Smith's shoulders. Smith has scored 20-plus points in three straight games and is averaging 26.7 ppg in that time.
"I need him to be J.R. and score the ball like he's been scoring it," Woodson said. "But everybody's gotta pitch in. I can't sit here and say who should score and who shouldn't score. It's gotta be a total team effort on everybody's part."
Woodson did mention how he would like to see Novak more involved in the offense and was pleased to see what he could do off of the dribble. He was asked about how many wins he would like to see on this road trip.
"You'd like to win them all, that's the goal," Woodson said with a chuckle. "I just want to see us compete and make sure we put ourselves in position to win. If we come back over .500 I'm happy. We win them all then I'm really happy, so we'll see what happens."
The Knicks have won three in a row on the road, own a 16-12 mark away from Madison Square Garden and will also visit the Nuggets, Blazers, Clippers and Jazz on the jaunt.
Golden State has stumbled a bit lately with two straight and six of eight losses. It is 2-2 on a seven-game homestand and dropped a 103-93 decision to the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night.
Carl Landry had 18 points and 10 rebounds in place of David Lee (knee), while Klay Thompson scored 18 points and Stephen Curry finished with 16 and 10 assists. The All-Star Lee is questionable Monday.
The Warriors were outscored 56-45 in the second half and committed 17 turnovers, leading to 23 Milwaukee points. They did manage to shave a 10-point deficit down to one until Milwaukee pulled away.
"When it gets to a point from closing out games, stakes are going to be raised. We have to be able to handle it and right now we're not," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "We have to take care of the basketball. Right now, it hurts us."
Golden State is still a dominant 20-9 at home and has Detroit and Chicago remaining on the residency. The Warriors are currently sixth in the Western Conference postseason hunt -- one game ahead of idle Houston and two games in front of the idle Los Angeles Lakers.
The last time the Warriors and Knicks met Curry had a night to remember at Madison Square Garden. In a recent 109-105 loss to New York on Feb. 27, Curry scored a career-high 54 points and made 18-of-28 shots, including 11-of-13 from beyond the arc. Anthony countered with 35 points for the Knicks, who have still lost 15 of the past 20 meetings in this series.
New York has lost nine of its last 10 visits to Oakland.