This is what the Miami Heat envisioned when they got Amar’e Stoudemire to agree to a free agent deal last summer. In short, they would use him when needed.
And right now, he’s needed.
Miami’s season was teetering on the brink a week ago, with losses and injuries piling up. But the Heat have since won four straight games, Stoudemire starting them all in place of injured center Hassan Whiteside and helping Miami get back on track. Stoudemire posted season-highs of 13 points, 12 rebounds and three steals in Miami’s most recent win, a 105-87 romp over Atlanta on Sunday night.
“He knows how to play,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic said.
Stoudemire has averaged 22 minutes in Miami’s last six games, after averaging about 10 in his first 14 appearances. He’s not the rim protector that Whiteside is, but his pick-and-roll game – he and Dwyane Wade kept effectively running it on Sunday – and ability to finish has given the Heat offense a clear boost.
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