PHOENIX -- 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
"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.
Stu Jackson, the league's executive vice president for basketball operations, reviewed the play and determined no action was necessary.
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
"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
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
"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, they're 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."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.