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Stoudemire's back, but Knicks lose

CLEVELAND -- Amare Stoudemire came back. The Knicks went missing.

Stoudemire returned after missing 13 games with a back injury, but playoff-bound New York looked tired after clinching a spot in the postseason and played one of its most uninspired games in weeks, losing, 98-90, to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

"There's nothing about tonight's game that I liked," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We just didn't compete. That's unacceptable."

Stoudemire, sidelined since March 24 with a bulging disk, scored 15 points and didn't show any signs of the injury. But the Knicks came out flat, stayed that way until making a late run and lost to a Cleveland team that won for just the fourth time in 19 games.

"We could have come out with more energy and did a better job out there," Stoudemire said. "We felt complacent, being that we clinched, we felt like we accomplished something. We just got to keep our focus going into the postseason."

New York may have missed a chance to move any higher than the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference -- they have to win their final three and Orlando must lose its last four for the Knicks to finish sixth. They are only a half-game ahead of Philadelphia.


Around the rim

*The Orlando Magic say center Dwight Howard was doing well after undergoing successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back Friday in the Los Angeles area.

*Joe Johnson scored 30 points, and the Atlanta Hawks edged the short-handed Boston Celtics, 97-92. The Hawks lead the Celtics by 1 1/2 games and will have the advantage in the first round of the playoffs if the teams finish 4-5 in the East.

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