It turned into the Show.
Yet, despite his 35 points on a season-high 31 shots (his previous high was 17) and a comeback from down 18 early in the second half to one twice in the final 64 seconds, it wasn’t enough to prevent a 90-85 loss to the at Madison Square Garden.
Not enough to overcome the absence of Stoudemire, who sat out again with a sprained left ankle, but hopes to return for Wednesday’s game against Charlotte at the Garden.
For the Knicks (2-3), who beat the Kings, 114-92, on Saturday, Stoudemire cannot come back too soon.
Toney Douglas contributed 12 of his 22 points during a third quarter in which the Knicks embarked on their comeback.
But ultimately the Knicks’ performance suggested that Saturday might have been an aberration — particularly for Stoudemire’s replacement, the rookie Josh Harrellson, 0 for 4 on 3-pointers after going 4 for 6 in Sacramento.
The Knicks need their All-Star big man.
“I miss him a lot; I miss him a lot,” said Anthony, who missed a three to tie with less than 15 seconds left on what Coach called a busted play. “But most important I want him to be 100 percent healthy.”
Seventy percent, Anthony said, won’t do, and D’Antoni agrees.
“I don’t think there is a rush,” D’Antoni said. “He’s got to be 100 percent before he plays. We’re not going to risk anything.”
Referring to the truncated schedule, Stoudemire said: “It’s such an impactful season. You don’t want anything to linger on.”
Still, D’Antoni acknowledges that getting Stoudemire back as soon as possible is necessary for his offense, especially its pick-and-roll foundation, to start hitting on all cylinders, something it did infrequently during the three games the All-Star big man played before going down.
Because Tyson Chandler is more capable and occupies more space in the pick-and-roll than any of Stoudemire’s sidekicks last year, Stoudemire’s has to adjust, D’Antoni said.
Stoudemire dismissed any problems with making those adjustments, saying, “I’ve played with these guys.” But D’Antoni said: “It takes time. Everybody has different characteristics, and it just takes a while to blend them all and getting everybody to trust in what they’re doing.”
On Monday, whether it was a lack of trust in his teammates or just how the game played out, Anthony couldn’t explain his 31 shots, or the season-high 35 3’s the Knicks launched, of which they made just 10.
They scored only 11 points during a second quarter in which they dug a 17-point halftime deficit, then stormed back to within three in the third behind a 10-point burst by Douglas: two threes sandwiched around a four-point play. But after him, only Chandler, again plagued by fouls, scored in double figures (11).
“You might be able to sneak by one game,” D’Antoni said of life without Stoudemire.
Just not past a team that blew a 16-point lead to lose Sunday night in Orlando and squandered another double-digit advantage in a loss to Dallas this season.
Of the other injured Knicks besides Amar’e Stoudemire, the rookie guard Iman Shumpert could return soonest. He tested his sprained right knee with an extensive workout Monday, could practice Tuesday and may be ready Wednesday, less than two weeks after he injured his knee in the season-opening win over Boston. The original prognosis was twice that. … Jared Jeffries will not return until a day or two after he is ready, Mike D’Antoni said, to make sure his injured right calf has healed. The timetable is thus uncertain. … Baron Davis remains weeks away from returning from his back injury, D’Antoni said. … The N.B.A. rescinded the flagrant foul Mike Bibby received Sunday in Sacramento.