Suns Playoff Notebook: Amar'e Stoudemire Is Looking to Dominate
PHOENIX -- The Suns and the Blazers both held practice Saturday morning, in preparation for their Game 1 match-up Sunday night in Phoenix. Following are selected quotes from the Suns media availability; also see Blazers report.
• Alvin Gentry talked about Portland's defense, and what makes the Blazers such a difficult opponent.
"They almost put you in a situation where you've got to grind out the game," Gentry said. "They're not a high-scoring team, but what they do, they do great, and that is they do a great job of defending the ball, and then they do a great job of trying to create situations where there's always three guys in the lane. So if you drive the basketball, there's always three guys there. And I think their whole philosophy is, if you can beat us shooting jump shots, then have at it. But I don't think they give up a lot of easy baskets."
• Gentry again, on whether or not there's another level his team can get to, considering how well they've played to end the regular season.
"I do think that's overrated," Gentry said. "I think that everybody plays a little bit harder, all the teams play a little bit harder during the playoffs. It's not that big of a deal; I think you'll see everybody turn it up a little bit. So if everyone's turning it up a little bit, then all things remain equal. We're going to try to play the way we play, and I don't believe in adding all of this pressure or anything like that. We know the significance of this game and the series, and we're just going to play. The way we approach things, we've been successful doing it 54 out of the 82 times."
• Amar'e Stoudemire, on the other hand, did believe that the Suns could kick it up a notch for postseason play.
"Oh yeah, oh yeah," Stouemire said confidently, when asked if there was a higher level he and his teammates could be playing at. "We're just getting there. And we'll continue to improve I think in the playoffs. They bring out the best in myself, and I know in my teammates as well. So it's going to be great to see how it goes."
• Stoudemire also discussed the differences between the playoffs and the regular season.
"It slows down, it's a more physical game [in the playoffs]," Stoudemire said. "Every possession counts even more and every game is extremely important. There's definitely more intensity, more pressure for the most part, and that's why they say the playoffs turn stars into superstars, because every team studies your game. They study your favorite moves and your go-to moves, so if you can come up with something else to counter, that's what makes a superstar."
• Amar'e was asked where Portland might have an advantage in this series, but he wasn't willing to concede anything. He told FanHouse that the goal was simply to dominate, and nothing less.
"We want to dominate," Stoudemire said. "We want to dominate every aspect of the game: offensively, defensively, communication, awareness, from a studying standpoint, knowing what they do best ... we want to dominate. Every aspect. That's our mindset, that's how we want to approach it."
• Stoudemire was asked where the Blazers might look for offense with Brandon Roy out, and he mentioned Portland's guard play, as well as that of LaMarcus Aldridge, as the most likely possibilities.
"I'll tell you what, they've got guys who can slash, they've got great guards who, when they get the rebound, they have a one-man break," Stoudemire said. "So we've got to make sure we get back and zone up on those guys and defend the post. You know LaMarcus [Aldridge] is a guy they're going to probably go to more often, so we've got to make sure we're prepared to guard him."
• Steve Nash talked about a variety of topics, including the importance of tempo, the Blazers' excellence defensively, and how much more aggressive Andre Miller might be with Brandon Roy out of the lineup. The majority of Nash's comments can be seen in the video below.