Sorry Rorschach, it's just what I believe. But feel free to disagree.
I think that Amare Stoudemire has been playing hurt for some time now. He will play a lot better if he can get a rest (All Star break didn't count for him) and the chance to heal.
Jump for a quick explanation:
First of all, Why do I think he's hurt?
Amare is a shell of the player he was the first few months of the season. He was posterizing fools, swatting shots everywhere, and was always running the floor like a gazelle and finishing fast breaks. And he was doing it on a nightly basis.
We're starting to see him fail at things that we're very routine for him just a few months ago. The aging process doesn't happen that fast, people. Think about how many dunks he's been missing lately. How many times he's been getting his shot blocked. How he's one of the last to get downcourt. How he's no longer seems to be able to muscle guys for tough baskets inside at will.
Remember last night in the 4th quarter when he came baseline for the dunk and was denied by Glen Davis (yes, it was a foul, but the point is that a healthy Amare would have flushed it for an And One). And there have been several of those plays every night, where you're like, "Buckle up for Amare... aw man... what happened?" That dunk on Greg Monroe was nice, but it he was kind of lucky it still went in since he threw it without touching the rim. He's been getting bullied by the likes of Chris Wilcox? Hansborough? JJ Hickson? etc...
Think of how many times we've seen him go down and stay down for a minute or so holding a body part. You think those pains just disappeared? He's obviously dealing with lingering injuries, but he won't rest because...
Why doesn't he just rest for a few games?
Remember when he first signed with the Knicks, and the media was like, "Wow! The Knicks are SO STUPID! Amare is so fragile and injury prone. He'll get hurt after a few weeks." Well Amare has a lot of pride (which I love), and he doesn't want to give them the opportunity to say "I told you so." He knows the media will eat him up if he starts sitting out games, so he's playing through injuries and trying to be the Saviour that he knows New York is thirsting for.
Then he didn't want to take off any games because he knew the All-Star break was coming. But finally he had to rest one game (against the Nets), and was thinking about resting the final game before the break (against the Hawks) but the NBA informed him that he couldn't play in the All-Star game if he was missing regular season games. Again, his pride (which I think is an asset) got in the way, and he played that night against the Hawks.
Now he really needs a rest, but Carmelo is here. If Amare takes some games off now, the offense will inevitably run through Melo, and then Amare will have to deal with all that bullshit about, "Well, maybe this is really Melo's team? Amare couldn't do it on his own, and Melo had to come in and save the day." Amare doesn't want to rest because he needs to establish that this is his team and he's the unquestioned leader (and I think it is his team a lot more than Melo's.
I love Amare Stoudemire, and I am so grateful to him for coming here and putting the franchise on his back when all the other free agents were scared. He's been a leader on the court, and in the community, but dude really just needs to rest if he's going to be effective down the stretch.