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nashtymavsfan13
01-11-2007, 06:46 PM
Amare's D the key

By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
January 11, 2007

PHOENIX The message on the dry erase board in Mike D'Antoni's office serves as a not-so-subtle retort to the segment of basketball observers who look with disdain at his Phoenix Suns' offense-first style of play a style many think is built for regular season excitement but inevitable playoff disappointment.

"At the end of the game," it reads, "the best defensive team is the one with the most points."

While D'Antoni might smile at the message and the Suns' blistering 25-3 run of success, he isn't blind to reality. He knows you probably can't get those 15 coveted playoff victories without going back to the basics of basketball.

"When they say defense wins championships, they're right," said D'Antoni, whose team led the NBA in scoring the last two seasons but failed to get out of the Western Conference.

That is why the key player for Phoenix this year might not be two-time reigning MVP Steve Nash or dynamic forward Shawn Marion, but the Suns' center, Amare Stoudemire.

And here where offense is everything, it's not Stoudemire's 17.6 points a game and devastating conclusion to Nash's pick-and-roll execution that is the main factor, either. It's the tenacity that Stoudemire has applied to rebounding, setting picks and (gasp) playing defense even if it might cost him some offense.

"Points, we will get," D'Antoni said. "We're going to get points. Defense, rebounding, blocking shots that (is what) will make us a championship-caliber team. He's defensively picked it up a notch."

Stoudemire said it isn't anything more than the natural development of his game. He arrived in the NBA at 19, not just directly out of high school but out of a wild time of his life where he attended seven different high schools as he was fought over by every unsavory element imaginable.

To say he wasn't coached in high school doesn't do it justice. "Well," laughed D'Antoni, "actually he had seven different coaches."

Stoudemire showed up in Phoenix as a raw talent, and he was able to instantly dominate based on his immense physical talents. But microfracture knee surgery (he missed all but three games last season) stopped his development. Now, he isn't just healthy; he is beginning to understand the complete game, realizing that it isn't just points that matter.

"It's just coming to me as my game develops," Stoudemire said.

It's not like he is going Ben Wallace on us Stoudemire is still capable of huge offensive nights but he is also concentrating on defense and rebounding. In his last eight games, Stoudemire is averaging 11.4 rebounds a game. He's had 18-rebound nights and six-blocked-shots games and outings such as last Sunday against Golden State when he got called for fouls setting violent screens.

He had just 10 points against the Warriors, resting his knees most of the second half and watching as the Suns scored 128 anyway.

"It takes the (offensive) pressure off all players because so many players can score," Stoudemire said.

At 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds and with world class athletic ability, Stoudemire has the potential to dominate the lane defensively and on the glass. He is capable of giving Phoenix the defensive stopper that it covets; the one player who can make up for the perimeter defensive deficiencies of Nash while guarding the great big men of the Western Conference. It's all about heart and knowledge. It is all about wanting to do it.

"He is probably our most important (defensive) player and him doing that is the key for us," D'Antoni said.

"Amare's defensive willingness and his learning curve has been the key to our season," Nash said. "We need that presence inside. When he's committed and plays hard, we're a different team.

"We're capable of winning it all."

That's the point in Arizona. The Suns have had a lot of laughs the last two years, winning games and scoring points. Their home game promotion promising two free tacos at Jack in the Box when they score 99 or more points is the surest bet in sports (only two non-taco games this season).

And that isn't changing. Phoenix wants to be fun. But it wants to win a title and it wants to get past the perception that what works in the regular season won't fly in a seven-game series when a determined opponent can adjust and buckle down defensively.

"I'm tired of hearing that," Marion said.

Suddenly, the Suns have the player that can lead them in that pursuit. Suddenly, the most offensive team in the NBA is talking about the other end of the court and not just in wisecrack messages.

"No doubt about it," Stoudemire said, "defense wins championships."

MFFL
01-11-2007, 06:59 PM
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
January 11, 2007

you probably can't get those 15 coveted playoff victories without going back to the basics of basketball.

Wouldn't 15 playoff victories mean that your team lost 4-3 in the Finals?

some-dude
01-11-2007, 07:12 PM
Wouldn't 15 playoff victories mean that your team lost 4-3 in the Finals?


haha, yes it would. Maybe he means 15 victories to get into that one last game to win it all.

nashtymavsfan13
01-11-2007, 08:53 PM
Wouldn't 15 playoff victories mean that your team lost 4-3 in the Finals?

Another reason I can't take this article seriously.

rmacomic
01-11-2007, 09:35 PM
This article is garbage written to pump up the TNT game tonight.

fluid.forty.one
01-11-2007, 09:35 PM
"At the end of the game," it reads, "the best defensive team is the one with the most points."




Umm......

nashtymavsfan13
01-11-2007, 11:25 PM
"At the end of the game," it reads, "the best defensive team is the one with the most points."




Umm......

Basically it means the team that wins was the one that played better D.