NEW YORK (WFAN) — Allan Houston knows a little something about postseason basketball. He was on the court for New York when they last won an NBA playoff game at Madison Square Garden.

These days Houston serves as Knicks assistant general manager, and he has a message for Amar’e Stoudemire’s detractors: Lighten up.

“I’ve been in practice literally every day I’ve been in town and there have been times … where he probably shouldn’t have practiced and he did,” Houston told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Thursday morning. Stoudemire left Tuesday’s Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics with back spasms.

“I don’t think anybody that has seen him play could ever question his desire to be out there,” he added. “I can vouch for that after seeing him every single day.”

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So will Amar’e be in the lineup Friday night?

“We hope so,” said Houston. “There’s still, I think, a shot. But we don’t know right now.”

Stoudemire isn’t the only banged-up Knicks superstar. Chauncey Billups went down with a knee injury in the final minute of Game 1 and is listed as questionable for Game 3.

“Again, I don’t know,” Houston said. “Every day his limp seems to get a little bit better, so that’s a good sign. … But the good thing is, it’s getting better. It’s not something where we know he’s going to be out the rest of the series.”

If the Knicks can’t get the job done on Friday, they’ll head into Game 4 down 0-3. Every game has been tight and New York could easily be up 2-0.

“We’ve had guys that just haven’t been in this position before,” said Houston. “I think they’re learning on the fly … and we still had a very good chance to win both of those games.”

Should Knicks fans take it easy on Stoudemire? Sound off in the comments below…