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 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."