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- Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire (bulging disk, lower back) will start after missing the last 13 games, but “won’t play big minutes,” according to coach Mike Woodson. ”Amar’e is like a little kid today, running around the court in uniform, because he’s so excited to be back,” Woodson said. “I’ve got to watch how much I use him tonight, but as we get closer to the playoffs, we’ll go along and try to build his minutes up.” New York went 9-4 without Stoudemire, who last played on March 24 against Detroit. The six-time NBA All-Star is averaging 17.6 points and 8.0 rebounds in 43 games.
- With Stoudemire back in action, Knicks small forward Landry Fields is heading to the bench. Point guard Mike Bibby, shooting guard Iman Shumpert, center Tyson Chandler, and small forward Carmelo Anthony remain in New York’s first five. “Iman has made a defensive presence – not that Landry can’t do that – but we like the look that Iman gives us,” Woodson explained. Point guard Baron Davis (stomach virus) was initially announced as a starter, but was a last-minute scratch for the second game in a row.
- The Knicks signed longtime Bucks center Dan Gadzuric to a free-agent contract, releasing small forward Bill Walker to make room for him on the 15-man roster. Gadzuric, 34, will be in uniform and available to play. “It depends how the game goes,” Woodson said. “Right now, we’ve just got to get him acclimated to what we’re doing.” Gadzuric, who appeared in 42 games with the Warriors and Nets during the 2010-2011 season, was added to fill the role of ailing center Jared Jeffries (right knee soreness).
- Cleveland center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) was officially declared out for the season by coach Byron Scott. The mop-topped “Wild Thing” was injured on Feb. 10 against Milwaukee when Bucks center Drew Gooden accidentally struck his wrist while battling for a rebound. “I was trying really hard, but (the wrist) was still really sore and in a lot of pain,” said Varejao, who plays on playing for Brazil in the Summer Olympics. The Cavaliers are 10-26 since Varejao went down.
- Cleveland swingman Alonzo Gee (left ankle sprain) will sit out his third straight game, allowing shooting guard Manny Harris to make his second start in a row. The remainder of the Cavaliers’ lineup is point guard Kyrie Irving, small forward Anthony Parker, power forward Antawn Jamison, and center Tristan Thompson.
- New York’s inactives are point guard Jeremy Lin (left knee meniscus tear) and Jeffries, while Cleveland will not dress Varejao, Gee, center Semih Erden (right ankle sprain), and shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson (season-ending left foot tendon surgery). Davis remains in the Knicks locker room at Quicken Loans Arena.
- The Cavaliers’ roster is down to 14 players after they opted not to pick up shooting guard Lester Hudson for the rest of the season. Hudson, whose second 10-day contract with Cleveland expired Wednesday, subsequently signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. He averaged 12.7 points in 13 games with the Cavaliers.
– Brian Dulik