By Marc Berman
Amar’e Stoudemire rested Friday night, the start of the Jewish Sabbath, but it was not because of his newfound interest in following religious customs. Nor was it to do more vinotherapy. He claims his surgically repaired knees weren’t necessarily in pain.
Stoudemire said he just needed a strategic one-game break — much like Spurs wizard Gregg Popovich spots Tim Duncan a game here and there — and he returned on his 32nd birthday Sunday, helping the Knicks snap their seven-game losing streak.
“That was a great birthday present,’’ Stoudemire said. “I felt great, my legs felt rested, I felt energetic. Those days are needed sometimes.’’
After sitting out Friday night’s loss to Utah, Stoudemire returned and played with vigor.
Stoudemire posted solid numbers in 20 minutes of work — his nine-point, six-rebound outing off the bench stabilized the depleted club that played without Iman Shumpert (hip). Early in the fourth quarter, Stoudemire bulled inside for a layup and drew the foul just as Denver started to make it interesting, closing to 9.
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