Things you do not do in the NBA playoffs as a player in a crucial series:
1) Bitch about the refs. The coach does that for you. Stay out of it.
2) Say anything less than complementary about an opposing player.
Amare Stoudemire has now given the Spurs some bulletin board material, accusing the whole team of being dirty and in particular, Bruce Bowen, whom he believes tried to injure him in Game 2 by kicking him as he went up for a dunk. Nevertheless, you don't call this out in the middle of the series as a player. It's one thing as a coach to do it; it's an entirely different thing to do it as a player.
Stoudemire said he didn't react at the time because he didn't want a suspension or a technical foul that would hurt his team.His coach, Mike D'Antoni, had the right reaction -- it's so minor to him that it doesn't matter. Most of you know where I stand on the Spurs: they play on the edge of fouling at all times. The reason it works is because they dictate what gets called by playing physical. The only way you fight that in an officiating climate that favors the team dictating tempo and pace is to make them play your game and attack in response. However, Bowen has been fined for something like this before on the Sonics' Ray Allen.
"I know it's the playoffs. I understand a hard foul," Stoudemire said. "But that wasn't a hard foul at all. That was just a purpose kick trying to injure someone."
No foul was called on the play.
Amare's made a bit of an error -- he just displayed a crack in the Suns' armor, and this will either get the refs' attention or backfire spectacularly. Fortunately, the FanHouse has found some video, so judge for yourself:
Looks pretty gnarly to me. If the NBA gives Kobe a game for throwin' bows, this should probably get a suspension or a heavy fine.
Stoudemire Calls Bowen, Ginobili Dirty Players [AP via ESPN]
Amare Stoudemire Says Bowen and the Spurs are Dirty [AOL FanHouse]
(Photo: AP/Paul Connors)