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Suns Playoff Notebook: Nash on Stoudemire's 'Ultimate Evolution'

Apr 21, 2010 – 11:13 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

Brett Pollakoff %BloggerTitle%

Amar'e StoudemirePHOENIX -- The Suns held practice Wednesday morning in Phoenix, before heading to Portland for their Game 3 match-up Thursday night against the Blazers. Following are selected quotes from the Suns media availability.

• Alvin Gentry talked more about his team's defensive effort in Game 2 than the offense, and was most impressed by the way Grant Hill was able to shut down Andre Miller. "I know there's not another 37-year old guy in the league that could guard Andre Miller that way," Gentry said.

• "I think I was most pleased with the defense, because that's the thing that was a little bothersome [in Game 1]," Gentry continued. "The amount of layups that we gave, and between their two guards, they had 49 of the 105 [points]. And the way they got 'em, by driving in the lane and being able to shoot layups was a concern. I thought our guys did a great job of correcting that."

• Gentry discussed the change in venues for Game 3. And while he did say that Portland has a great fan base, he also said that the series wouldn't be determined by which team played in the loudest building. "It'll be loud, that place is great," Gentry said. "They've always had great fans there, but it's not a decibel meter game, it really isn't. It's the players on the floor that have got to decide it, so as long as you're focused, I think we'll be fine. We're a good team, we know we're a good team, and we've just got to play that way."

• When asked about the possibility of Portland being without Nicolas Batum for Game 3 -- Batum is questionable with a right shoulder strain -- Gentry scoffed at the notion that the Blazers might be adversely affected by yet another injury to one of the team's core players.

"Hey, it means nothing to them whatsoever, guys," Gentry said. "You want to start talking about the guys they've got injured? So that makes 385 games instead of 384 [that the team has had guys miss due to injury], and they'll just plug somebody else in there and they'll play their butts off. That's what they do. That's what they've done the whole year. No team has even come close to losing more games to injury than they have, and they stay right in the race. So for us, if Batum's not there, that means they'll plug [Martell Webster] in or somebody else in, and he'll play great and we'll still have to beat 'em."

Steve Nash talked about Amar'e Stoudemire's improvement on recognizing double teams and making the proper pass out of the post, and described his teammate as "unplayable" when he's making those correct decisions.

"When he realizes his options passing the ball, that's I think the ultimate evolution for him, to where he does become unplayable."
- Steve Nash on
Amar'e Stoudemire
"He has improved, and I think he can continue to improve," Nash said of Stoudemire's passing. "When he realizes his options passing the ball, that's I think the ultimate evolution for him, to where he does become unplayable. Because right now we've seen at times teams make it crowded and make it difficult for him. When he consistently finds the open man, that's when he becomes really unplayable."

• As for what adjustments the Blazers might have in store for Game 3, Nash seemed confident in his team's ability to deal with whatever Portland might have in store.

"I'm sure they'll do some things to free up some guys a little more offensively," Nash said. "And obviously defensively they're not going to want us to get out in transition like we did. So they'll make adjustments, but again, I think we can win in a number of ways and the most important thing is that we're aggressive and proactive and taking the game to them."

• Amar'e Stoudemire talked about how he's had to become more of a playmaker than a scorer so far in this series. "In this series, they're not allowing me to really do much offensively," Stoudemire said. "But what it does allow me to do is be a playmaker out there for my teammates. So the better I can find guys in their rhythm, and they're ready to shoot, then the better we'll become offensively."

• When asked about what the difference was for him personally between games one and two, Stoudemire said that it was his quickness and decisiveness that countered what the Blazers were trying to do defensively.

"There was really no difference," Stoudemire said. "I was still in attack mode, the same as I was in Game 1. Just the fact that they weren't quite set up as quickly as they were in Game 1. In Game 1, I was taking more time in the post, and allowing the other team to really set up and see where I was coming from, so they could double team. In Game 2 I was a little quicker, a little more aggressive on the moves, and kind of caught them off guard a few times, which allowed me to get to the free throw line. Plus, we had more fast break opportunities."

Louis Amundson• The Suns left for their flight to Portland immediately following practice, and a couple of the guys had some additional luggage packed for the trip. Both Lou Amundson and assistant coach Bill Cartwright were seen bringing guitars onto the team bus, which makes you wonder if there's an open mic night somehere in the greater Portland area that might be worth checking out on Wednesday night.

• If you were wondering what the best part of a road trip is for NBA players, it might just be the per diem. Jared Dudley documented his trip onto the bus and signed for his envelope full of cash, while Amar'e Stoudemire could be seen singing, "dollar dollar bills, y'all!" while it was all going down. Video (via JMZ, naturally) of this can be seen below.

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