By Ian Begley

The Knicks enter the week 3 1/2 games back of Atlanta with 15 games to play. Their path to the postseason isn’t an easy one.

Four of their next five games are against teams that are at least 14 games under .500. But nine of their final 10 games are against teams over .500. Eight of 10 are against teams currently in playoff position. Only the Jazz and Suns aren’t within the top-eight seeds in their conference, and Phoenix is 10 games over .500.

The fact that they’re even in contention for a playoff spot at this point in the season is a testament to¬†Amar’e Stoudemire.

Stoudemire has been a key to the Knicks’ six-game streak. The team is 6-1 since Stoudemire was inserted into the starting lineup and his production over that span has been top notch.

He’s scoring 22.7 points per 36 minutes since being inserted into the starting lineup, 3.9 more points than his season average.

He’s shooting 61 percent from the field over the last seven games, six percent higher than his season average.

And he’s pulling down 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.

“I work extremely hard so I know once you put the work in the results will eventually happen,” Stoudemire said on Saturday. “So that’s pretty much what we’re seeing now. We’re seeing the manifestation of the work I put in.”

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