In a dramatic saga, the Los Angeles Lakers fired Mike Brown on Friday, just five games into the season. Then they toyed with rehiring Phil Jackson to take his place. Then, late on Sunday, they stunned the NBA by hiring Mike D’Antoni. Even D’Antoni’s agent had expected Jackson to get the job. (more)
Amare Stoudemire led the balanced Phoenix Suns attack with 21 points and eight rebounds en route to claiming victory 115-106 over the LA Lakers last night in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. The series is now tied at 2-2 with Game 4 scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles. Steve Nash controlled the tempo with 15 points and eight assists, but the real difference came with Channing Frye, Leandro Barbosa and Jarded Dudley each contributing double digit numbers during their limited time on the floor. “The bench played fantastic,” said Nash. “They were by far easily the difference tonight.”
Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 38 as Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol followed up with 15 apiece in their losing efforts. “Our attention needs to be on the defensive end – period,” said Bryant. “That’s second-chance opportunities. Their bench came in and gave them a big boost in getting balls back and getting them extra possessions. We’ve got to cut that stuff out.” 2010 NBA playoff tickets are now available!
The Los Angeles Lakers netted 36 points in the first quarter en route to claiming victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals over the Phoenix Suns 124-112 Wednesday at the Staples Center. Pau Gasol led the way for LA with 29 points and nine rebounds. Kobe Bryant racked up 21 points while dishing out 13 assists during his 43 minutes on the floor. Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar contributed 26 combined off the bench.
“It’s really tough because we have so many guys on this team that can hurt you offensively,” said Odom. “When we get four or five guys going offensively, it seems like our defense steps up. We do a great job of using our quickness, cutting guys off and making it hard for teams as well as putting that offensive pressure on them.”
Jason Richardson came up with 27 for the Suns as Grant Hill produced 23 in their losing efforts. “We still scored enough points tonight, but when they can score 120-something, that’s asking the offense to score too much,” PG Steve Nash said after recording 11 points and 15 assists. “If we’re going to beat them, we’ve got to find a way to slow them down.” Game 3 is set for Sunday night in Phoenix.
Eric Gordon notched 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers managed to harness the Utah Jazz 108-104 yesterday at the Staples Center. LA seemed as though they were cruising to victory, holding a 17 point advantage with just 6:30 to go. Utah kept fighting and eventually found themselves two points back in the final minute. Deron Williams netted a desperation three with just 3 seconds left before fouling Baron Davis to the charity stripe to conclude the hard fought battle.
“It got a little careless toward the end of the fourth quarter, and we made a lot of turnovers that they converted at the other end,” said Gordon. “They’re a real dangerous team, and they’re really hard to guard. That’s why it’s possible for them to beat anybody down the stretch.”
Davis contributed all around for the Clips with 19 points, five rebounds and 12 assists. Carlos Boozer led Utah with 20 points and six rebounds. “We had a good comeback,” said Boozer. “That’s a good team with the new additions they’ve had, and they played very well tonight. We did not have control of this game, and we knew that from the beginning.” The Clippers are scheduled to matchup with the Phoenix Suns tomorrow night before The Jazz challenge Nash and Co. the following day.
It seems as though Amar’e Stoudemire is set to stay with the Phoenix Suns for the remainder of the 2010 regular season. The official NBA trade deadline is 3:00 PM this afternoon. The All-Star center’s agent Happy Walters told ESPN‘s Chad Ford that “the better (Stoudemire) played over the last couple of weeks, the more emboldened the team got with trades. Anything can happen, but it seems unlikely.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the leading option for Amar’e until just recently trading for Wizards forward Antawn Jamison. The Heat have also been involved in trade talks, but at this point a move to Miami seems doubtful. So far this season Stoudemire is averaging 21 points and nine rebounds per game. The Suns just lost to the Dallas Mavericks 107-97 yesterday at the American Airlines Center. They’ll look to turn things around against the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings this upcoming weekend.
Suns forward Amar’e Stoudemire is the hot topic in regards to NBA trade rumors this week. The top two teams in the chase hold two of the league’s most talented players, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. The Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers are thinking alike, hoping to lure in a big name before the deadline instead of waiting for the free agency period.
LeBron and Wade are set to shop around this off-season and have even mentioned the possibility of playing together. The Amar’e deal would eliminate this fantasy in the sense that either team would be a championship contender with him in place. The Cavs are also pursuing Warriors swingman Corey Maggette and Wizards forward Antawn Jamison if the Stoudemire deal falls through.
There has been speculation as to whether Amar’e can co-exist with veteran center Shaquille O’Neal after their time together in Phoenix. Stoudemire made clear through his twitter account that he and Shaq are passed any issues, stating “You guys can stop saying we don’t play well together.” The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, February 18th.
The Boston Celtics had to suite up against the Suns without Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett, resulting in a clinic set up by Amare Stoudemire and Channing Frye. The duo ended up with 26 points apiece as the run and gun Suns demolished the depleted Celtics 116-98 last night in Phoenix. “When you take your best two scorers off the floor against a scoring basketball team, and your best defender off the floor, you may not win that game,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “So this game doesn’t affect me at all.”
What should affect the Celts is that they’re struggling with a 1-4 record in their recent road campaign. Following their Christmas day victory over the Orlando Magic, the C’s have now suffered losses to the Suns, LA Clippers, and Golden State Warriors. Garnett and Pierce are both scheduled to return in the next couple of weeks. The rest of the C’s will look to start the New Year in the right direction against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Boston Celtics tickets are now available!
Kobe Bryant sat the final eight minutes in last night’s contest as the Phoenix Suns rolled over the Los Angeles Lakers 118-103 at the US Airways Center. Head coach Phil Jackson didn’t feel good about any of his players yesterday, saying ”I wasn’t comfortable with my starters or my bench. I didn’t like either group. Guys didn’t play right. We had the inside game going for us, yet we just didn’t attack.”
Steve Nash led Phoenix with 16 points and 13 assists. The Suns really dominated thanks to their reserves outscoring the Lakers bench 52-31 between Leandro Barbosa, Jared Dudley and Goran Dragic. “Big win for us definitely,” said Amare Stoudemire after his successful 26 point night. “Coming off a couple of tough losses, tonight was a big momentum change and a good confidence builder for us.” The Suns will look to keep it going against the Boston Celtics Wednesday, December 30th. LA will next play host to the Golden State Warriors tonight at 10:30 PM ET.
Goran Dragic shot his way to a career night, netting four of five from trey land to eventually post 18 points as the Phoenix Suns ran down the San Antonio Spurs 116-104 yesterday at US Airways Center. “I thought Phoenix did a great job coming out aggressively and keeping the aggressiveness for 48 minutes,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “We had too many pathetic games from too many people. You can’t do that against a team like Phoenix.”
The Suns are now 9-0 at home, winning over a handful of big name organizations that include the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat. Amare Stoudemire produced the best stat line for the Suns with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Steve Nash threw in some impressive numbers as well with 25 points and 13 assists.
Tim Duncan came up with 34 while pulling down 14 boards despite his squads losing efforts. “We started soft. They are a high-scoring team, and if you make mistakes, they punish you,” said Manu Ginobli, who finished with seven. “We didn’t expect Dragic to make four 3s. We want Steve and Amare to score on us, and nobody else. It’s a good lesson.” San Antonio will look to turn things around tonight against the Golden State Warriors. Phoenix is set to take on the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday before hosting the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
The New York Knicks scored 39 first quarter points on their way to blow out the Phoenix Suns 126-99 yesterday at Madison Square Garden. Daniel Gallinari took control for his squad with 27 points and 10 rebounds. “It means a lot when you play against a team that plays your game and is at the top of the list, because they have the best record,” said Gallinari. “So it’s great for us.”
Veteran PG Steve Nash led Phoenix with 20 points and eight assists. Before last night the Suns had claimed victory in their last four contests by at least 20 points. “Terrible performance,” said Nash. “I’m embarrassed. Obviously just a disastrous effort. We just have to wash it away and pick it up tomorrow.” The Suns will have to find their rhythm quickly for their next challenge in Cleveland against the Cavaliers this Wednesday as the Knicks travel to Orlando to matchup with the Magic.