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D'Antoni: Stoudemire and Felton deserve a breather.

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At practice yesterday, Jonathan Abrams of the Times spoke to Mike D'Antoni about the playing time of his co-captains, Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire. Felton and Stoudemire each play over 35 minutes a game, which raises concerns about the two wearing down or spontaneously combusting later in the season. D'Antoni's input:

"I would love to cut some minutes off our guys," D’Antoni said. "They’re playing a little bit too many minutes now, but we’ve got to win also. It’s a little bit of a balancing act. I’m trying to find ways I can shave minutes off.

"If we were in a deadlock for one of the top four spots, then I would be concerned about it, but we’re trying to make the playoffs, and that’s where we’re at."

D’Antoni said he would limit his players’ practice time and offer more days off.

Oh, and:

"If they would just start winning by 20 points, then I could give them the fourth quarter off," he said. "That’s on them."

Wouldn't that be nice? In any event, it's good to see that D'Antoni is taking his stars' heavy workload into consideration. It's probably too early in the season to begin messing with practice, but the idea of letting Felton and Stoudemire get an extra off day here and there makes sense down the road (as long as the team's winning, that is). It's also worth remembering that D'Antoni does have a guy like Anthony Randolph around to spell Amar'e if need be. Felton is the tougher sub, since the Knicks don't have a true back-up point guard at this point. The article mentions Andy Rautins, though, and he might very well be considered at some point.  Also, I heard about this excellent stuff called HGH that could help those two avoid injury. No? Why not? Ohhhhh, okay. My b.