Despite the Knicks' early season success, one important question revolves around how Amare Stoudemire will integrate himself within the team's current chemistry once he is finally ready to return from injury. With that in mind, the answer to that question will have to be put on hold a little bit longer, as Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes that Stoudemire isn't quite ready to participate in games just yet. Coach Mike Woodson, who met with his forward earlier today, said that he'd like to see Amare go through more practice time and gave the impression that a return during the team's three-game road trip was unlikely. Here's the rest of what we've heard out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
- Certain players who will have an important role in how well Amare will fit in, namely Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, appear ready for the challenge and confident about their ability to make things work, says Iannazone.
- Among the brighter spots of the Raptors' five game winning streak is Terrence Ross, who coach Dwane Casey insists is earning minutes out of merit rather than an attempt to develop him (Doug Smith of TheStar.com reports).
- Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun says that despite the team's hot streak, Casey has tempered the hoopla surrounding the team and remains focused on the work that still needs to be done. Also, Ganter discusses Aaron Gray's role as a viable stopgap at center while Jonas Valanciunas is out with an injury.
- Ronnie Brewer has seen nearly a 33% drop in his three point percentages this month compared to November, though Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York writes that his shooting struggles aren't related to any lingering effects from the knee injury he suffered before the season started.