Fresh off an electrifying victory over the Spurs, the 20-14 Knicks head west for four away games in six nights. They start things off in Phoenix, where the 14-19 Suns will welcome their departed big man, Amar'e Stoudemire. Amar'e assures us that this is just another game, although he's typically willing to provide bulletin board material for the opposition:
"It's going to be great," he said after Knicks practice Thursday. "I don't think they've got anybody on the team that can stop me. Nobody can stop us as a team, so we're going to see what we can do."
In any event, the Suns aren't what they once were, and Alvin Gentry is still figuring out how to work newcomers Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus into the Phoenician attack. They're coming off a tough loss to the Lakers and have dropped six of their last seven.
While they still boast a pretty effective offense, Phoenix is among the league's worst in defense in rebounding, so this should be a decent opportunity for Stoudemire to match his bravado with output. Meanwhile, Mike D'Antoni is hoping that guys like Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton (and pretty much everyone else) can stretch the floor for Amar'e and cover for the absent Danilo Gallinari the way they did on Tuesday. With tougher road games to come, this is one the Knicks would really like to seize.