Who does depression hurt? (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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I think I'll miss this daily column when the season ends.  I mean, I've grown to love at least 12% of you guys -- which, for my pessimism-filled heart, is quite the accomplishment.  Maybe when it's all over we can all sit around and talk NBA Draft, Summer League, or constitutional law.  All sounds fun, does it not?  But fear not, my friends, the basket hoops are not over yet.  We have plenty of time to over-analyze every single thing that happens. 

Last night brought us not just the Celtics-Magic but also the NBA Draft Lottery, which is just an epic half hour of television.  Washington rose up and snagged the number one pick and what seems to be the right to select Kentucky point guard John Wall.  I'm sure there will be a great deal of random jibber jabber about how they're going to take Evan Turner, but they're gonna go Wall.

Tuesday May 18th Playoff Results:

Boston Celtics 95 Orlando Magic 92 (Recap)If you haven't been beat over the head with it enough during the last few hours I'll just get it right out there -- the Celtics are old...and they are WINNING.  From the way things are being reported, I'm fairly certain that Kevin Garnett played with Elgin Baylor (citation needed). Obviously that comes off a little overly snarky, but with their win on Tuesday night the Celtics have completed the impressive feat of taking a 2-0 lead on Orlando with both games happening IN Orlando.  Following a Rasheed Wallace corner three, the Celtics took an 11 point lead early in the fourth quarter but the Magicians fought back.  Orlando actually managed to take a 1 point lead on a Vince Carter jumper with 3:35 remaining in the quarter before they went cold.  Down the stretch, the Magic shot 1/4 from the field, had J.J. Redick pick up a charge, and saw Vince Carter miss two clutch free throws with the Magic down just 3 with 31 seconds left (paging Nick Anderson.  You've got company, boss.  I'm sure svspider can fill in the details for the youngsters).  The Magic had one final chance to tie the game with three seconds left, but Jameer Nelson's 36 footer was off.

Although Game 1 star Ray Allen was held in check (he had just 4 points on 1/6 shooting), Boston got 25 from Paul Pierce while Rajon Rondo added 25 and 8 assists.   More importantly, Boston held Orlando to under 40% shooting for the game.  Dwight Howard led the Magicians with 30 and Vince Carter and J.J. Redick put in 16 each.  Just a fun note: Rashard Lewis (THE NINTH HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN THE NBA....LET THAT SINK IN) scored only 5 points, his second consecutive single digit game in this series. 

Conference Finals Series Standings:

(1) Lakers v. (3) Suns: 1-0 Lakers

(2) Magic v. (4) Celtics: 2-0 Celtics

Wednesday May 19th Playoff Game:

Game 2  - Suns @ Lakers:  Game 1 was ugly.  Like really ugly.  If the Suns intend on evening the series, I'd start with a little defense and then perhaps consider hitting more than 22.7% of their three point attempts.  Re-filling Kobe Bryant's knee with lots of fluid probably wouldn't hurt either.  But you know...I'm not a basketball (or medical) expert.

And just because again (and I want you all appreciating the 90's flavor)....Penny Hardaway.


There are many reasons the Phoenix Suns lost Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Their defense was tissue soft, Amare Stoudemire didn’t rebound or do much of anything in the paint and the...

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Just what Amare needs right now...

Phoenix Suns Star Witnesses Mother's Arrest | TMZ.com


TMZ has learned the 6'10" NBA star was named in a police report involving an incident with his mother, Carrie Mae Stoudemire, that took place Saturday afternoon.

According to the report, police in Scottsdale, Arizona pulled Carrie over for allegedly driving erratically -- and eventually placed her in handcuffs for refusing to take a field sobriety test. But soon after the stop, another car -- a Bentley -- arrived to the scene.

Two incredibly tall men emerged from the car -- and a responding officer claims he recognized one of them as Amar'e. According to the report, Carrie began kicking the patrol car and yelling for Amar'e to "get a lawyer."

The TMZ story links to this Scottsdale Police report in which the officer states that Amare and another male arrived while Amare's mother was being arrested.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 05/18/10 4:44 PM MST ]

I wanted to get this posted quickly and let folks start discussing. Meanwhile, I was hoping I would come up with something to say on the subject. Bottom line is that Amare's been caring for and dealing with his mother's issues for quite some time. She's been in and out of jail on a variety of charges some of which is spelled out here.

I suppose I just feel for Amare. He certainly didn't look "right" out on the court in Game 1. Not playing with focus or passion we would expect. I suppose we can link this weekend's events to his play, but I think I want to wait and hear from Amare first before making that leap.

There is no question though that this is another distraction that Amare and the Suns are going to have to over come. There will definitely be a lot of questions about tomorrow before Game 2.

One can only hope that his teammates and coach will rally around him and help Amare though this.


Photo

More photos » Damian Dovarganes - AP

Browse more photos »

Just what Amare needs right now...

Phoenix Suns Star Witnesses Mother's Arrest | TMZ.com


TMZ has learned the 6'10" NBA star was named in a police report involving an incident with his mother, Carrie Mae Stoudemire, that took place Saturday afternoon.

According to the report, police in Scottsdale, Arizona pulled Carrie over for allegedly driving erratically -- and eventually placed her in handcuffs for refusing to take a field sobriety test. But soon after the stop, another car -- a Bentley -- arrived to the scene.

Two incredibly tall men emerged from the car -- and a responding officer claims he recognized one of them as Amar'e. According to the report, Carrie began kicking the patrol car and yelling for Amar'e to "get a lawyer."

The TMZ story links to this Scottsdale Police report in which the officer states that Amare and another male arrived while Amare's mother was being arrested.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 05/18/10 4:44 PM MST ]

I wanted to get this posted quickly and let folks start discussing. Meanwhile, I was hoping I would come up with something to say on the subject. Bottom line is that Amare's been caring for and dealing with his mother's issues for quite some time. She's been in and out of jail on a variety of charges, some of which are spelled out here.

I suppose I just feel for Amare. He certainly didn't look "right" out on the court in Game 1. Not playing with the focus or passion we would expect. I suppose we can link this weekend's events to his play, but I think I want to wait and hear from Amare first before making that leap.

There is no question, though, that this is another distraction that Amare and the Suns are going to have to overcome. There will definitely be a lot of questions about tomorrow before Game 2.

One can only hope that his teammates and coach will rally around him and help Amare though this.


2010-05-18_10

 

If you were expecting the Phoenix Suns to be hanging their heads the morning after getting run out of the Staples Center ... well, they weren't.

By 10am, they were right back on the floor in front of the empty seats whose cheers rivaled that of a Lakers home crowd. They were loose and serious. Focused and confident. Determined, disappointed, but not quite desperate.

"Guys, I know everyone expects for us to be down and out, but shit ... it's one game. It's one game. They played great, we didn't. You have to give them credit and you've got to move on. That's what the playoffs are," Coach Gentry explained with some measure of exasperation in his voice.

The Suns haven't lost two games in a row since January and they are confident they can correct the mistakes of Monday night and give a better showing.

Most notably, that means hitting open shots and, more importantly, denying lane penetration by closing out on shooters in such a way as to force them baseline and away from the middle of the court.

Grant Hill gave some inkling that the Suns didn't play hard. He wouldn't actually say they didn't play hard and he felt like he played very hard, but at the same time he ... oh, hell. This is what he said:

"I think we played hard in that San Antonio series. I don't know if we played hard or not (in Game 1). I'm not saying didn't. We just scrambled, we just played hard (in San Antonio series). Maybe we played hard last night, I don't know. We didn't play good. We didn't play well. I think that's always something when you lose that you can point to, whether it's true or not, that hey, I can go out and play harder."

You know what he means? I think I do. The activity level just wasn't the same on the defensive end. The Suns appeared to be on their heels, waiting for the Lakers to attack. It's not a good look at all.

Other Practice Notes

Steve Nash

  • I thought a big part of our offensive issues was missing open three-point shots which allows them to zone up the lane even more.
  • Tip your hat to Kobe. Artest made some shots.
  • Gave up transition buckets, offensive rebounds, points in the paint.
  • "Truth be told, not much defense for what Kobe did last night."
  • On Robin's return: I was blown away by his ability and what he was able to give. Our rhythm was good with him and he was outstanding.
  • We have to be at our best to win on this floor. The emotion was there as far as energy. We have to be strong, not break. We've got to draw a lot out of ourselves if we are going to win on the road here.
  • I thought guys were trying hard, but you have to be more ready.
  • Our shooting percentages weren't bad, shots just not timely.
  • If they shoot like that every night, we have to play perfect to beat them.
  • Question: Did you hear the crowd chant, "We want Boston"? Nash: "Yes, so does the league."

Audio: Nash practice 051810

Robin Lopez

  • I'm mobile and can guard more positions out on the floor (than Brook Lopez).
  • If put both of us (Brook and Robin) together, we would wreck unholy havoc on the league.
  • My body is feeling good right now. No pain, no soreness.
  • 90% of post defense is before they catch it. Pau knocked down some tough jumpers, that's a credit to him.
  • What created open lanes was us not forcing baseline when we closed out, which is something we've preached since day 1.

Robin Lopez practice 051810

Alvin Gentry

  • Disappointed in giving up 60% shooting and 128 points. Gave up a lot of easy opportunities.
  • It wasn't so much that they threw it inside. Where they hurt us most was dribble penetration. We've got to do a better job keeping them out of the lane.
  • We have to do a better job on our close outs and the angles we take when we close out.
  • Our offense, we shot 49% and scored 107. If we had a typical defensive game or they had a typical offensive game, we would have been fine.
  • Was that their best shot? "I sure as hell hope so. If they play any better then that I think we're going to have a real tough time beating them."

Gentry practice 2 051810

 

Grant Hill

  • We have to regroup, refocus and we have to delete this game. We have to move on.
  • This team has been mentally tough and we've responded.
  • This is an important game, just because of how we lost. For our own selves we need to compete better. The pressure is still on them to hold court. Not quite the World Cup or Super Bowl or anything like that.
  • We have to be disappointed in how we played, but we can't lose confidence in who we are and I don't think we will.

Grant Hill practice 051810


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