DALLAS – Amar’e Stoudemire’s debut with the Dallas Mavericks was well worth the wait.
Playing in his first game with the Mavs on Sunday night, Stoudemire manufactured 14 points and three rebounds in only 11 quality minutes as Dallas knocked off the Charlotte Hornets, 92-81, at American Airlines Center. In the locker room after his one shining moment, Stoudemire kept saying how he felt winded, but felt good.
He also was appreciative of the Mavs for allowing him to miss the previous two games while he worked himself into game shape.
"I took a long break off the All-Star weekend,’’ Stoudemire said, referring to last weekend. "Having too much fun in the sun down in Miami.
"But then I got back here and started to work with the guys and get acclimated with the training staff, so I felt great.’’
Stoudemire was 5-of-8 from the field, and three of those baskets were dunks. He through them down with the kind of force which the Mavs had been lacking in a backup center to Tyson Chandler since they traded Brandan Wright to Boston on Dec. 18.
"He’s a very different kind of player than Tyson, so we will do some things differently,’’ Carlisle said. "But I think he’s a guy we can post up and I think he’s a guy we can pick-and-pop with.
"We haven’t had center that can do that in a while since we had (Chris) Kaman. Kaman was a very good pick-and-pop guy.’’
Stoudemire knew this was going to be a special night to remember when the fans greeted him with a very loud standing ovation when he entered the game for the first time with 5:26 remaining in the opening quarter.
"The fans were very joyful tonight,’’ Stoudemire said. "They gave me a lot of energy and channeled it right to me and I was able to capitalize on that.’’
By the time Stoudemire left the game for good with 10:05 remaining, he was the Mavs’ leading scoring. The 13-year veteran put his stamp on this game in a very big way while proving to be a force the Mavs can rely on whenever Chandler goes to the bench.
"When he first got out there its emotional the first game you get out there with a new team,’’ Carlisle said. "He was going really hard, he was really tired.
"I thought for the first game with a new team – 14 point sin (11) minutes – that’s pretty strong.’’