Missing: All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire


Amare Stoudemire hasn't been himself through two games of the Western Conference Finals. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

It may be time to issue an all points bulletin for the Phoenix Suns All-Star power forward, because he’s nowhere to be found thus far in the Western Conference Finals.

After turning in a mediocre performance in Game 1 with 23 points (the team lead, to be fair) and just three rebounds, Amare Stoudemire disappointed again in Game 2 with 18 points and six rebounds (an improvement, but until I am typing rebounds in digits instead of words, there is work to be done). On top of that, Stoudemire led the Suns (in the bad way) with a -14.

Where has All-Star STAT gone? Where has the beast that turned in the best post-All-Star break performance of any forward in the NBA gone? Where has the dominant big man who was averaging 20.5 points and 9.0 rebounds and sort of playing defense gone?

There is the argument that Stoudemire has been distracted by the off-the-court incident involving his mother’s arrest, but there is also the argument that the Lakers have simply shut him down. STAT just hasn’t been himself. Though Stoudemire said he didn’t regret saying that Lamar Odom had a “lucky” game in Game 1, he might now.

Stoudemire simply isn’t matching up well with the Lakers interior players and is getting beat on the boards. Nine rebounds through two games is a paltry performance. Odom has 30 … off the bench. Stoudemire’s rebounding ineptitude through two games has been crippling to the Suns’ efforts to get their offense going.

To be fair, it’s not just Stoudemire that has underperformed. No Sun has grabbed double-digit boards in either game and the Lakers have won the rebound battle both times. So this isn’t by any means a “blame Amare for the 2-0 deficit” analysis. It appears to be a case of being outmatched physically. Pau Gasol, Odom and even the ailing Andrew Bynum have outdone the Suns with a polished, powerful inside game.

But when you have a center who hasn’t played in a game since late March and a backup center who hangs around the perimeter and doesn’t play physical (Frye is a whole other story — won’t get into it here), the burden falls on the All-Star forward to lead the rebounding attack.

Stoudemire didn’t back up his talk in Game 2, and I imagine there won’t be much between now and Game 3 in Phoenix. This is a prime instance where actions will speak (much, much) louder than words. If the Suns want to climb out of this 2-0 hole (and you can bet the farm that they do), it will take a team effort, but one of the key components to that team effort is Stoudemire. The improvement necessary to the entire team starts there.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Los Angeles Lakers Phoenix Suns Playoffs

  • Iliana

    I agree Amare has not shown up here on this series…I do not underestimate him! He will show up! Sunday sounds like a good time!!! Game 3 will be Suns Win!!! Go Suns! :0)

    I love ma Suns and Amare! (hang in there re: mom)

  • Michael

    it was also very cheap of the lakers to have 3 of their starters play 40+ minutes. come on suns you need 2 bounce back.

  • binkfooter

    The reason the lakers play there starters 40+ minutes because they understand you have to step on the throat of the other team and here we are again the Suns playing scared. And Fry is a huge problem ever time he touches the ball he looks like a dear in the headlights.

  • binkfooter

    And it would be nice if someone anyone would give a laker a hard foul to show them its not that easy all the time. Its like they are taking a walk around the block going to the basket.

  • dustball

    @Michael – What about the Lakers putting their best line up on the floor in the WCF is “cheap”?

  • Bond

    I am seldom critical of Amare, even though from time to time, his defense really needs to be improved.

    But in game, I have to say he is the reason we lost.

    If he can still be felt offensively by putting some baskets at least, he is A DISASTER DEFENSIVELY, to put it mild

    It is like ever Ben Wallace can easily get 20 points from him tonight. Terrible

  • Go Lakers!

    You losers are already down and out. This comment board sounds like a bunch of whiny children. Accept your defeat, you cannot stop the Lakers!

  • 573

    Amare's defense has been flat ATROCIOUS. He is absolutely clueless on defense and this is why L.A is putting on an offensive clinic. I mean seriously, Gasol's eyes lit up when he saw Amare was assigned to him. For all of Stoudemire's offensive brilliance, he still has no go-to move in the post and is to reliant on Nash to create ALMOST all of his buckets.

    And as for Nash, yes, he did make a bunch of costly turnovers in the fourth that put the Suns pretty much doomed us, but stats don't tell his whole game this series. The ball movement has been pretty good, and the extra passes is leading to points, but I think Nash still needs to look for his shot a little more often. He is money from 10-18 feet.

    Also, Channing Frye has no business playing in this series. He has that deer in the headlights look going on. just AWFUL

  • http://temple3.wordpress.com temple3

    Looking for Stoudamire?

    Try looking for the 2-time MVP Steve Nash. Doesn’t everything begin and end with Nash on this team? Isn’t he the greatest PG since sliced bread? Isn’t he the iconic gritty baller who gets it done?

    24 points in two games — against Derek Fisher, the Old Man of the C (as in championships).

    The national and local media are AWFULLY QUIET on this disappearing MVP topic. Maybe you all think he’s actually playing well. LOL.

    That’s why the Suns are the Suns.

  • Bond

    temple3:

    I concur. Nash is not playing up to a MVP standard (yes, MVP is the standrad we expect from him because he really is).

    In spite of this, I stress that I have no intention to blame them though I might sound like blaming. They are the real core of our beloved SUNS, a team we cherish, a team we enjoy watching, a team we all emotionally involved. As a fan, all we can do when they face a uphill challenge is to trust, support, encouage them as much as we can.

    I hope all Suns fans share my view and give our unconditional support in this already amazing playoff run.

  • lll66

    “it was also very cheap of the lakers to have 3 of their starters play 40+ minutes.”

    That’s one of the reasons they won the game. How is that cheap?

    “And it would be nice if someone anyone would give a laker a hard foul to show them its not that easy all the time. Its like they are taking a walk around the block going to the basket.”

    Don’t think that hasn’t been tried before. It makes Kobe madder and usually he just gets better.

  • binkfooter

    I am not talking about kobe he is going to get his but Paul and odom and bynum there is not even a body around to do anything to them

  • PJ

    Fry is a good but hes a role player. Role players play better in front of a raucous home crowd, and I'm sure fry will bounce back. This series isn't over as national media would have you believe… the Lakers did a great job holding home court, lets see what happens in the next 2 games before we give them WCF crown.

  • Bond

    I think Go Lakers! is very right.

    Suns fans should really give a chance for him/her to release his/her ego. Suns fans all understand this is an ultimate call for dignity from an a poor beggar who gets no respect in real life.

    Suns fans, show our caring heart to Go Lakers!

  • Bond

    Yea,

    Phoenix Suns where caring happens

  • Mel.

    “You losers are already down and out. This comment board sounds like a bunch of whiny children. Accept your defeat, you cannot stop the Lakers!”

    Oh, the irony.

  • Sean

    temple3-

    We Suns fans absolutely hope Nash steps up his scoring a bit more, and cuts down the turnovers a bit.

    Having said that, his numbers aren’t far off from his regular numbers. He’s shooting 50%, with 12 pts and 14 assists per game. That’s producing about 40 pts a game ( not counting 3-pointers), which is about what he produced during the season.

    And he is totally outplaying Derek Fisher head-to-head. Fisher is averaging 6 pts and 3 assists in about the same minutes as Nash. Fisher’s only contribution (and probably his only real assignment) is to play tough D on Nash, and he’s doing a pretty good job of that.

    Nash is a rhythm player. The Suns need to play better D (duh!) and mix up their looks. Double Kobe some, play big w/ Fropez some, play small some. And Amare: please stop fronting Gasol. Thank you.

  • Oh Yeah Butter!

    I'm looking at Gentry and his horrid rotation last game. Start of the 4th Quarter, tied game, you rest nash and leave in Amare? You have three days rest until the next game! Go for the win you dumbass! I loved the bench in the 2nd Q but come on, you had to see we drew blood in the 3rd and we could've taken the game if you had that instinct.

  • Michael

    lll66 you are a retard. madder is very poor grammar. learn proper english then i’ll take your word into consideration. stupid laker fan

  • JD

    Just to throw ideas out there I would try this match up in Game 3:

    If the Lakers have the following players on the floor:
    Gasol-Odom-Artest-Bryant-Fisher, I would counter with:
    Lopez-Amundson-Hill-Richardson-Nash

    I would replace Amundson with Barbosa if the Lakers bring in Farmar or Brown off the bench and then I would run the offense either thru Hill or Richardson. The Lakers had a hard time stopping both of them in Games 1 AND 2.

  • JD

    Amare either lacks the fundamentals to play defense, just purely disinterested or a combination of both. I would definitely choose Stoudamire’s match ups very carefully and bring a 3rd player over if the Lakers try run P&R against involving him.

    Make sure Stoudamire is guarding Odom, Gasol or Bynum 1 on 1 and not helping too much, this may make it easier for him to box out and rebound.

  • Joshua

    Michael…his grammar might be bad, but he’s right. And that’s the real reason you’re not responding- you have nothing to say.

    With Amare and defense, it’s a question of fundamentals and not desire. He’s simply terrible at rotating to help. He’s not a good man to man or help defender…and expecting that to change during the course of this series is wishing on a star. Gasol, Odom and Bynum can have their way with STAT at any point and that’s simply something the Suns will have to take into consideration when they plan for a way to bounce back in game 3.

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  • Z Man

    STAT must have read this. He was a beast the following game, when he played before his fans at home.

    Frye, Barbosa, Louis, Dud and Gogi did not really get going until the 4th game.

    Once they did, their confidence soared and they were able to have their way with LA. STAT may be gone and we will not have to deal with the highs and the lows in his play. If he goes, Sarver will have no excuse not to keep the rest of our guys. MUST KEEP Frye, Louis, and our Brazilian Blur.

    MUST start and also finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!