Amar'e Stoudemire Plays Superhero on Super Sunday

New Carmelo Anthony rumors can't quite overshadow Amar'e and Fields

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Feb 7, 2011  |  Updated 8:00 AM EDT
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Amar'e Stoudemire Plays Superhero on Super Sunday

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When Amar'e Stoudemire signed with the Knicks this offseason, he was very clear about wanting to be the leader of a revolution in Madison Square Garden.

His words became actions on Sunday afternoon. With his team facing a three-game losing streak and the erosion of their entire cushion over the seventh-place Sixers, Stoudemire put the team on his back and dominated Philly from the first minute until he left the eventual 117-103 win to a standing ovation in the final throes of the fourth quarter.

Stoudemire hit 17-of-21 shots from the floor, using a variety of jumpers, pick-and-rolls and simple drives to overwhelm the visitors en route to 41 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds, handed out four assists and blocked four shots to make sure that his team didn't suffer any of the letdowns that allowed the Sixers to beat them in the fourth quarter of a dismal loss on Friday night. He was totally emotionally invested in the game, to the point that he got yet another technical.

It's increasingly clear that the NBA crackdown on player expression is limited to Stoudemire and a couple of others -- Sixers rookie Evan Turner looked directly at a ref and cursed him with no punishment yesterday -- and if David Stern is serious about this rule he'll step in and overturn Sunday's ridiculous call. If not, Stoudemire is just two away from an automatic suspension that the Knicks can't afford.

Unless they have Carmelo Anthony, however. Sunday began with increased chatter about a three-team deal involving the Timberwolves that would land 'Melo in the Garden with Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph and the contract of distant memory Eddy Curry going out in return. It seemed too good to be true and, indeed, many reports say it isn't close, but time is running short for the Nuggets to make a deal that gives them anything in return for Anthony's services.

On Sunday, the Knicks hardly looked like they needed Anthony's scoring skill. Stoudemire's Batman performance was helped greatly by Landry Fields as Robin. Fields scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his best performance in quite some time. They were just a shade under 60 percent shooting from the floor as a unit and nailed 11 threes to fully erase the bad memories of Friday night's loss.

That doesn't make Anthony an unnecessary piece, however. The Knicks have made it clear that they don't subscribe to the theory that defense is the crucial part of outscoring the other team. Mike D'Antoni likes the offensive approach and Anthony would only make it more dangerous. If they can get him by losing only Chandler from the rotation, it's a no-brainer because it will make days like Sunday occur a lot more often.

It's a good bet we'll be waiting a while longer for the end of the Melo story, so just focus on the superstar that's already here. Amar'e might not be enough to do it all on his own, but every now and then he feels like the only guy you'll ever need.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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