By deciding to throw shade on Lamar Odom‘s increasingly beastly performance (18 ppg, 15 rpg) in the Western Conference Finals, Amar’e Stoudemire made himself an easy scapegoat for the struggling Suns. Maybe if Amar’e hadn’t said anything, the fact that he’s grabbing only 4.5 boards per game wouldn’t be getting more attention than his solid point production (20.5 ppg), or maybe some people would ignore that the Lakers are actually targeting Amar’e on the defensive end and feeding whoever he’s guarding. (Again, wouldn’t it be great here if the Suns could trust 6-10 Earl Clark to do something?) … So while Amar’e is taking the heat, Steve Nash is avoiding his share of blame. Although Nash is handing out assists (14 apg), he’s not doing enough as a scorer (12 ppg). In the San Antonio series, the Suns were at their best when Nash was looking for his own shot; like he when he dropped 17 points in the first quarter of Game 1, or took over the fourth quarter of Game 4 with one eye. With Derek Fisher guarding him, it’s not like the scoring opportunities aren’t there … Long story short, it’s not looking good for the Suns. Our DimeMag.com poll yesterday asked which team out of Orlando and Phoenix is more likely to avoid getting swept. The Magic got over 60 percent of the vote … Despite some of the outright terrible calls from the NBA refs this postseason — and the fines drawn by players and coaches in protest — the only ref to get publicly punished by the League is Joe DeRosa, who has been suspended for one game after throwing a ball at a fan during Game 2 of Celtics/Magic. The fan in question was booted from the arena, though, so he probably deserved it … The Chicago pre-draft camp got underway yesterday. As far as players who aren’t locks for the Lottery and have a lot to gain, our people on the ground say Kentucky PG Eric Bledsoe, Virginia Commonwealth PF Larry Sanders and Fresno State SF Paul George were among the standouts … A lot of the top names — John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner, Wes Johnson, etc. — are in Chicago and not working out, but took time for media stuff. The most talked-about issue this year is Cousins’ character/intangibles; he’s basically the Michael Beasley of the 2010 class. Wall defended his UK teammate, but Daniel Orton reportedly called Cousins a “big child” during one interview … In other draft news, at least one D.C. reporter is claiming he’s heard from inside the Wizards organization that Gilbert Arenas won’t be on the team next year, either via trade or buyout. Washington management is still sticking to their story that they’re keeping Arenas (to presumably play SG to Wall’s PG). If you’re running the Wizards, what would you do? … Another Wizards-related story that’s picking up steam: Could the Wizards be a player in the LeBron James sweepstakes? They actually do have some cap space, and aren’t any worse off than the Knicks as far as a blank slate waiting for LeBron to come in own the franchise. Honestly, though? There might be two too many knuckleheads on that roster for LeBron to deal with … All reports out of Philly are saying Doug Collins will be the Sixers’ next coach. The Hawks have started interviewing, with Avery Johnson and Dwane Casey emerging as the top candidates … With no basketball on the Thursday schedule, we had some afternoon baseball showing in the Dime office. Did you catch the end of the Braves/Reds game on MLB Network? Crazy finish, as the Braves went into the bottom of the 9th down by six runs and eventually won it on a walk-off grand slam. Reacting to the homer, one ATL announcer yelled, “I’ve been to three rodeos and two goat-ropings, and I’ve never seen anything like that!” … We’re out like LeBron on the Wizards …
Smack / May 21, 2010 / 12:01 am
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