Suns hammer Nets, but Amar'e sees New Jersey's 'potential'


There was the expected here last night. The Nets played a game, the Nets lost a game. No surprise.

But there also was the unexpected as Suns four-time All-Star Amar’e
Stoudemire, one of the key names expected on this summer’s free agent
market, said he sees the Nets’ "potential" and would not automatically
dismiss them.

"There are some teams you may say, ‘no way,’ " said the 6-foot-10
Stoudemire, who scored 27 points in the Suns’ 118-94 win that dropped
the Nets to 3-38 at the season’s halfway point. "I don’t think the Nets
are one of them."

Playing hard before faltering, the Nets did little to alter Stoudemire’s view, despite the lopsided final. Stoudemire spoke favorably about the Nets, but then combined with players such as Steve Nash (12 points, 15 assists) to deal them a ninth consecutive loss. Friday at Golden State, the Nets face the possibility of enduring their third double-figure losing streak in the same season for the first time. Already, they have had runs of 18 and 10 defeats.

Nevertheless, Stoudemire, a 21.1 points per game career scorer, views the positives. He sees Brook Lopez (who had a monster 26-point, 13-rebound game), a move to Brooklyn, an incoming Russian owner with deeper than deep pockets, Devin Harris and high draft picks.

"Potential. Absolutely. I think that’s a team with potential," Stoudemire said. "They can definitely contend in the near future [with] the right pieces."

For the first time in their careers, the Lopez twins, the Nets’ Brook and the Suns’ Robin (career-high 20 points, fourth straight double-digit game) started against each other. And they went at it like they had, well, a sibling rivalry.
"He’s incredibly talented, more athletic than me, better competitor," Brook said. "More energy, effort . . . He did great. He did exactly what he was supposed to do."

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