NEW YORK — In his return to Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, the quotable Amar’e Stoudemire caused quite the stir.
In a 98–81 win over New York, the Heat forward tallied eight points and seven rebounds in 22 charged minutes, helping Miami fend off a number of comebacks to improve to 33–26. An inspired performance on the court should have been expected after his blunt pregame comments.
In discussing Jeremy Lin’s tenure with the Knicks, Stoudemire insinuated that star Carmelo Anthony was upset with being overshadowed by Lin.
“If [Lin] stayed it would’ve been cool. But everyone wasn’t a fan of him being the new star. So he didn’t stay long,” Stoudemire said before the game. “But Jeremy was a great, great guy. Great teammate. He put the work in and we’re proud of him to have his moment. A lot of times you gotta enjoy someone’s success. And that wasn’t the case for us during that stretch.
“You got to let that player enjoy himself and cherish those moments. He was becoming a star and I don’t think everybody was pleased with that.”
When Anthony first heard of Stoudemire’s reflection after the loss, he chuckled and said he would not comment on something that took place so long ago. Perhaps realizing the weight of the comments, he proceeded to deny trying to push Lin out, and suggested his former teammate was talking about another player.
“If [Lin] was becoming a star, then we should have embraced that,” Anthony said. “S---, If that were the case, then I’d be upset right now with [Porzingis]. If he’s talking about me. I doubt he’s talking about me. I doubt that. Highly doubt that.”
Lin joined the Knicks in late December 2011, 10 months after Anthony arrived in a trade with the Nuggets. During a remarkable nine-game stretch in February that began when Anthony was injured, he averaged 25 points per game and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in consecutive weeks. He signed a three-year contract with the Rockets after the season.