LOS ANGELES – Even Amar’e Stoudemire(notes) couldn’t dismiss the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest performance as lucky. In fact, if there’s anyone who could use a little good fortune these days, it’s Stoudemire and his Phoenix Suns, who were again dominated in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
One day after Stoudemire called Lamar Odom’s(notes) 19-point, 19-rebound effort in Game 1 “lucky,” the Suns forward was forced to swallow his pride again. Odom produced another strong performance, totaling 17 points, 11 boards, four assists and three steals as the Lakers won 124-112 to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Don’t, however, expect Stoudemire to take back his words.
“I never regret my comments,” Stoudemire said. “Never. I think he played well tonight. He did a great job off the bench.”
Should Stoudemire have used a different word to describe Odom’s Game 1 performance?
“No,” Stoudemire said.
While Stoudemire had no problem dismissing Odom’s production, he might want to take a more critical look at his own play in the series. Stoudemire grabbed just three rebounds in Game 1 and had another flat performance in Game 2 with 18 points and six boards in 40 minutes. Lakers power forward Pau Gasol(notes), meanwhile, is averaging 25 points in the series.
“I’m playing my same game,” Stoudemire said. “When the ball comes to me, I just look to score and make the play. So, I’m still being aggressive, still trying to be efficient, still my same game.”
Stoudemire also is still listed as 6-foot-10 and 249 pounds. But when asked about why he is only averaging 4.5 rebounds in the two games, he chalked it up to the Lakers’ size advantage with Gasol, Odom and center Andrew Bynum(notes).
“It’s never easy playing against two 7-footers and a 6-11 off the bench,” Stoudemire said. “These guys are kind of focused on the boards. They are kind of long in the box. …We’re not the biggest team out there. They’re definitely focused on boxing me out more. [Suns center] Robin [Lopez] did a great job of helping me out a tad bit.”
Odom has so far refrained from firing back at Stoudemire, saying only, “I play for the Lakers. He plays for Suns, that's what it's about.”
Did Odom’s wife, reality star Khloe Kardashian, find Stoudemire’s words insulting? What about his friends from Queens?
“Nope,” Odom said, smiling. “It’s Hollywood. We’re doing good.”
To Stoudemire’s credit, he isn’t the only one who should have a finger pointed at him as the Suns return home down 2-0. Steve Nash(notes) is averaging only 12 points in the two games. Phoenix also has allowed 252 points to the Lakers in the series.
“We are not winning. That’s the only difficult thing to deal with right now,” Stoudemire said.
The difference between Stoudemire and Nash, however, is that Stoudemire brought attention on himself with his mouth. Lucky or not, Odom has stepped up for the Lakers. Stoudemire needs to do the same for the Suns.
“When it comes to me,” Stoudemire said, “I’m ready to go.”