Stoudemire calls Bowen, Ginobili `dirty' players
By BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer
May 10, 2007
PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix All-Star Amare Stoudemire says the San Antonio Spurs are a "dirty team" and that Bruce Bowen tried to hurt him, nasty accusations sure to intensify the playoff series between two of the best teams in the NBA.
"He kicked me purposely in the back of my Achilles'. I almost came down wrong and he almost caused an injury," Stoudemire said after Thursday's practice. "He's known for doing that. I just hope the NBA and the commissioner take a look at that because it's definitely a dirty play."
The Suns' center, selected to the all-NBA first team Thursday, didn't stop there.
"I think the Spurs are a dirty team," he said. "I mean, (Manu) Ginobili during the regular season kneed me in the crotch on purpose. I just hope the league takes a look at it and cleans the game up a little bit."
The Spurs, who host the Suns in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday, had finished practice in San Antonio and the players were gone when Stoudemire made his accusations. Tom James, director of media services, said the Spurs had no comment.
The play that led to Stoudemire's charges came in the third quarter of Phoenix's 101-81 victory in Game 2 on Tuesday night, when he was going up for an open dunk. The victory evened the best-of-seven series 1-1.
Stoudemire said he didn't know at the time if the kick was on purpose, but decided after viewing replays that it was.
"When I saw the replay and reviewed it three or four times, there was no doubt about it," he said. "It was a purpose kick to the Achilles' and he definitely tried to injure me."
Stoudemire's feelings were heightened by the fact that he missed all but three games last season while recovering from two knee surgeries.
"I was actually very, very, very upset," he said. "Me personally from last year, having to sit out the whole season because of injuries. And for a guy like Bruce Bowen, who is a two-time champion, he should have more class than that, should understand what it takes to be a professional."
A video on YouTube appears to show Bowen, an NBA all-defensive team selection, kicking Stoudemire's leg from behind.
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.
"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.
Stoudemire said the Achilles' was initially sore but was fine during practice. Both teams took the day off on Wednesday.
During the regular season, the New York Knicks' Steve Francis was injured when he stepped on Bowen's foot.
When the teams met again in San Antonio, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas drew a technical foul when he shouted something at Bowen when New York's Jamal Crawford nearly landed on the Spurs' player's foot.
"I thought Jamal went up to take the shot and as he was coming down, Bruce's foot was under him," Thomas said after that game. "And if he were to come down on his foot, he could have broken his ankle or sprained his ankle and he would have been out, just like Francis."
In March of 2006, Bowen was fined $10,000 by the NBA for kicking Seattle's Ray Allen in the back.
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni downplayed the incident involving Stoudemire.
"The league's going to look at it and they're going to examine past tendencies and stuff," he said. "I have no idea what Bruce Bowen does. I don't really care. I don't want to get into it because it's so minimal that it's no big deal. It really isn't."
Raja Bell, also an all-defensive team selection, said he doesn't like to use the words "dirty player."
"`I haven't seen the play," he said. "Dirty is not a word I like to use about anybody. They play hard, their physical. It's a physical time of year, but I didn't get kicked. Amare has the right to feel the way he wants to feel."
Associated Press writer Elizabeth White in San Antonio contributed to this report.
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