Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Stoudemire doesn't regret 'lucky' remark
By Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin ESPNLosAngeles.com
Suns forward Amare Stoudemire said Wednesday morning that he did not regret saying Lakers forward Lamar Odom had a "lucky game" when he had 19 points and 19 rebounds in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
"Nah, I'm gonna always be myself. That's just my character," Stoudemire said. "It's just what I was feeling."
Stoudemire initially left the practice court after Suns shootaround at the Staples Center without stopping to speak with reporters, but returned a few minutes later and addressed the mini-controversy over his comments from Tuesday.
"He had a solid game," Stoudemire said. "I'm looking forward to keeping him off the boards and containing him as much as possible. He had a great game so we have to focus in on him a little bit more."
As for whether he worried his comments would give Odom any bit of extra motivation, Stoudemire shrugged and said, "I'm pretty sure he's going to play well regardless. It's the Western Conference finals. If you're not willing to play well now, then it's not going to happen. I'm pretty sure he's going to be motivated whether I made a comment or not. We just got to make sure we are motivated as well."
Suns coach Alvin Gentry said that he'd spoken with his high-scoring forward in the interim.
"I said, 'Listen, let's hope that we have a lot of lucky guys today,' " Gentry joked. "Nineteen points and 19 rebounds is not a lucky night. We know that. It's just ... I don't know what it is.
"We're not a team that talks, we want to be seen and not heard. The only thing I'm interested in is how we perform on the floor."
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Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who accused Suns point guard Steve Nash of carrying the ball before the series even started, saw no harm in Stoudemire's barb.
"This is part of the give and take of the playoffs," Jackson said.
Heading into Game 2, the question is whether or not Odom can do it again. He hasn't posted 15 points or more in back-to-back games since March 24 and 26. He did have double-digit rebounds in back-to-back games to start the second round against Utah, however.
"Coming off the bench a lot of times changes how players get involved in the game," Jackson said. "A lot of times starters have more of an opportunity to get in and feel themselves in the moment when the opportunities arise. When you're coming off the bench, you have to take advantage of things right away and he did that the other day."
Odom agreed that a fast start will be the key to his success.
"Same kind of mentality," Odom said, wiping sweat from his brow. "I will just go out there and play hard and try to attack the game. See if I can find that game speed and catch up right away, especially coming off the bench, involve myself in the game right away."
Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin are covering the Western Conference finals for ESPNLosAngeles.com.