With 5 seconds left and the Knicks holding on to their precarious lead over the Bobcats, Amare Stoudemire lost his front uniform number. But if you were watching, we all know his number was 6 tonight; six blocked shots. Throw in his 20 points scored and 4-4 at the free throw line; including two clutch FTs to keep the Knicks ahead late, and what you have is "ONE" guy who is leading in word and deed. He has been more The Man in character, player, and competitor than I ever gave him credit for (not necessarily written here).
I will say it now; I was one of the skeptical ones regarding Amare Stoudemire upon his signing. If the first 16 games of the season are any indication, I couldn't have been more wrong regarding the magnitude of Amare's game, intensity, accountability and tonight specifically, his defense.
Since the night Amare challenged his teammates to elevate their games, the Knicks have won 5 in a row.
Of course we still know he can't do this by himself. But more and more we are seeing the over-all Knickerbocker package in an improved state versus what we used to suffer for so long. Players on this team are emerging into roles and filling them nicely. There is an increasing cohesion and meshing of the 10 new players on this year's Knicks team.
This 5 game streak should be viewed as nothing more than a five game streak in mid-November. I myself am stuck on the fact we have no inside defense. We still have a welcome mat in the paint. And we often get out-rebounded. You need a "Big Man" for that. But that's a problem for tomorrow. Tonight, the Knicks improved.
They've been improving from game to game. They are improved from last year and they are improved from three and five years ago. This Knicks team is an improvement from almost a decade ago.
Forget the number missing from Amare's uniform tonight. He'll be the first to tell you what's important now is that the uniform says NEW YORK and they're playing like a team.
...Number One, is alright by me.
Let's keep improving.