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As Pau Gasol whines, @Amareisreal shines. Why one star can embrace, and now thrive in, a reserve role:
"It's in my DNA," Stoudemire said after yet another strong performance (14 points, 7-for-7 shooting). "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to win.
"I've accomplished a lot in my career so far. The next thing to accomplish is to win a championship. Whatever that takes, whatever role I have to step into, I'm totally into it as long as we win."
Stoudemire's all-star caliber game is starting to return to form. Over his last seven games, he is averaging 15.9 points per game and shooting a blistering 65 percent from the field (37-for-57).
Most importantly, he's doing it in just 24 minutes per game, well below his cap of 30. Mike Woodson has been careful not to overuse Stoudemire this early in his return to action and instead keep him fresh. The result has been noticeable pop in Stoudemire's legs and great energy when he enters games.
The return of his offense doesn't come as a surprise to Stoudemire. What he wants is to be reliable at the other end of the floor.
"I feel great offensively," he said. "Defensively is my main focus."
Woodson spoke proudly of how Stoudemire has embraced the role off the bench and has shown an eagerness to improve on defense.
"I think he's accepted his role and he's been working," Woodson said. "He's worked to get back to this point and the hard work has put him in a nice position for our team."