NEW YORK (AP) – Amare Stoudemire’s back is feeling better and he is in the starting lineup for the New York Knicks as they try to avoid elimination against the Boston Celtics.

Stoudemire said Saturday he wouldn’t play in Game 4 unless the pulled muscle in his back improved. Coach Mike D’Antoni said he didn’t expect his All-Star forward to play when he arrived at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, but Stoudemire said he felt good enough to go.

He was hurt Tuesday and played Friday but was ineffective, scoring seven points on 2-of-8 shooting.

“When I saw him and saw how relieved and good he felt, I had a lot less doubt today than I did Friday,” D’Antoni said.

Chauncey Billups is still out with a strained left knee.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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