Woodson: Amar'e embraces bench role

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
4:14
PM ET
Amar'e Stoudemire has been on a roll lately.

11 straight games in double figures, shooting 64.7 percent during that span. Two perfect games from the field (7-for-7 and 10-for-10). And a 14.2-point average for the season in only 23 minutes per game.

So what's next? Just to continue what he's doing -- and without a change in the rotation. Mike Woodson said he and Stoudemire are both committed to the forward's role with the second unit.

"I think he's embraced it big time, and that's not to say that he might not ever start," Woodson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco" show on Thursday.

"But at this particular moment in time, we're happy with him coming off the bench and we're benefiting from it. With him and J.R. (Smith) and Steve (Novak), that really gives our bench a super threat in terms of how we play."

Woodson said Stoudemire, who returned on Jan. 1 from knee surgery, is still on a playing-time restriction, but spoke positively about how it will "prolong his career." More importantly, STAT has been helping the Knicks close out games down the stretch. That's the coach's focus.

"I think the media, everybody, is so interested in who starts the game," he said. "To me, it's who finishes the game, and that's where it all counts."

Here are a few other nuggets from Woodson's radio appearance:

The overall team: "I feel great. I think we're right where I thought we should be. ... If we can stay healthy and stay committed, we will put overselves in position because there's not a team that I think we can't beat."

Jason Kidd's shooting woes: "He went through that stretch of 15 games where Raymond Felton was missing in action and had to log a lot of minutes, and I think that's taken a lot out of him. But he's a true pro and he won't ever quit on you. ... The good thing about Kidd is that I know when a big shot needs to be taken, he's not afraid to step up and take it, or make a big-time play defensively or run the ballclub."

On Rasheed Wallace's return: "Absolutely. He will be back right after the All-Star break and he'll start practicing. ... Rasheed and (Marcus) Camby for us are for the long haul, and as we get deeper into this thing, I think they'll play a more valuable role."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR