Stoudemire reacts to suspension, calls out Duncan

Updated: May 16, 2007, 8:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Amare Stoudemire reacted to his one-game suspension Wednesday and also wondered why Tim Duncan wasn't punished similarly when he stepped onto the court from the bench earlier in the game.

"I am disappointed that the NBA looked at the letter of the rule and not the spirit of the rule. I admit I stepped on the court, and that I should have had some more restraint, but Tim Duncan did the same thing but just not in such an aggressive manner. The rules are the rules, and I abide by them, and in that same vein, I think it would be beneficial for the league then to have also taken a further look at Tim Duncan," Stoudemire said.

The Phoenix Suns will face the San Antonio Spurs without Stoudemire and Boris Diaw on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The two are serving a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area following the flagrant foul by San Antonio's Robert Horry on Steve Nash in the waning seconds of Monday night's Game 4.

Horry gets a two-game suspension for what Nash called "a quality hip-check" and for a forearm to Raja Bell in the subsequent scrum.

NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson brushed aside a suggestion that Duncan violated the rule in the second quarter when he rushed onto the court after Francisco Elson dunked and landed on the shoulders of the Suns' James Jones.

Sheridan: Ridiculous Ruling

Stu Jackson's decision to suspend Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for leaving the bench during the fracas at the end of Game 4 is utterly, profoundly, alarmingly, unreasonably ridiculous, writes Chris Sheridan. Blog Insider
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"Both players got up," Jackson said. "There was no altercation, and they ran down to the other end of the court."

In an interview with Dan Patrick on ESPN Radio, David Stern defended the suspensions, saying that Stoudemire and Diaw brought the punishment upon themselves. He also scoffed at Patrick's insistence that Horry will decide the outcome of the series with his foul on Nash.

"It's being decided because two Phoenix Suns who knew about the rule, forgot about, couldn't control themselves or had coaches who couldn't control them," Stern said.

Stern said if the owners would like to change the rule in the offseason, he'd be happy to do it. But he also predicted there wouldn't be a repeat of this in the playoffs because of the punishment Stoudemire and Diaw received.

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni ripped the NBA's decision on Wednesday.

"You know we do have the most powerful microscopes and telescopes in the world in Arizona," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Suns' morning shootaround. "You could use those instruments and not find a shred of fairness or common sense in that decision."

The rule, strictly enforced in the past, is aimed at preventing a fight from escalating into a full-scale brawl.

"I know for a fact that Boris Diaw would never, ever be in a fight," D'Antoni said. "I know that. To suspend him for going to Steve Nash, for looking and curiosity, that's a little harsh."

The Frenchman Diaw said he could not remember being in a fight, even as a kid.

"I've been in the NBA for four years and I haven't got even one technical foul," Diaw said. "I was just looking to see that Steve was all right."

But he agreed he should have known better than to walk toward Nash.

"You fight against your instincts, but you've got to overcome that," Diaw said. "That was my mistake to walk a few feet toward Steve."

Stoudemire abandoned his excuse that he was trying to check in to the game.

"I know you can't step on the court and at that time it was a natural reaction," he said. "I was more concerned about Steve's health, and I got penalized for it."

Stoudemire said he would watch the game from his restaurant, "Stoudemire's Downtown," across the street from US Airways Center.

Meanwhile, Horry said he was "an old school guy" and that in his early years, his foul would have been no big deal. He said he bumped Nash when he realized he wouldn't be able to get in front of him to draw an offensive foul.

"If it would have been anybody but Steve Nash, it probably wouldn't have been two games," he said after the Spurs shootaround. "But you know Steve is a great player, MVP. He's a focal point of the NBA now and they just have to protect their players."

Horry said Nash over-dramatized the bump when he went flying into the scorer's table.

"I thought I'd just bump him a little bit," Horry said. "As you know, the great acting skills Steve has, when he hit the floor, then flopped and did 'Oh, I'm dying here' -- it happens. I really wasn't trying to hurt him. I had no malicious intent to hurt Steve. I like Steve. He's a good person."

Horry already was a target for Phoenix fans. When he was with the Suns in 1997, he tossed a towel in the face of then-coach Danny Ainge.

Now Phoenix fans have changed Horry's nickname from "Big Shot Rob" to "Cheap Shot Rob."

"It doesn't bother me," he said. "I was already hated here in Phoenix anyway, but the messed up thing is the boos were kind of disappearing. Damn, now I've got to start all over."

Popovich repeated his belief that Horry's foul was not that serious.

"It was a hard foul, it was a playoff foul," he said. "I've watched a lot of playoff games and seen harder fouls, so I didn't think that that was excessive. But on the film, he did what he did. He had his forearm up and it moved forward and he got suspended. I think one game would have probably been good enough. I think that two is a bit excessive."

Nash, knocked around like a pinball in this series, refused to address the issue.

"I don't really want to waste any energy talking about it," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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