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May 27, 2005

Jim Jackson

Joe Johnson

Steve Nash

Amar'e Stoudemire


Q. Any difference in attitude or body language, is the team on edge a little bit?

STEVE NASH: No, I think everybody is even keel. I think everyone is ready to go. We just have to play a little bit better.

Q. How important is it for you to get off to a fast start?

STEVE NASH: Obviously it would be nice. We got ourselves back in the game. I don't think it was the end of the world, but you want to have a good game, and a good start is a product of your game.

Q. Have you looked at films, looked at finishing?

STEVE NASH: A lot of it is just them making great plays. Not much that we can change or do on some of the plays they made. So you have got to tip your hat to them on some of that stuff.

Q. The effort is there?

STEVE NASH: Yeah, the effort is there, for sure. We have played hard. I think other than the first two minutes of Game 1 when we were just sort of getting over the last series, no, the effort is there.

Q. Is this a situation where you can give a team who has a great post-season history like them a little bit too much respect?

STEVE NASH: I suppose. I don't think that's the case here, though.

Q. Being down 0-2, do you just go and play and not worry and think about things too much?

STEVE NASH: I think our team is ready to go. I don't think it matters that we are down 0-2. I don't think it matters where we're playing. I think our team is just ready to go.

Q. How much of a change it is with Joe (Johnson) being out there?

STEVE NASH: I think he adds a lot of depth to us, first of all, but the other thing is he's just a terrific player. So I don't know how he will feel, at his best or near his best. He's a terrific player and adds a lot to our team.

Q. You guys have fallen behind early, but you don't want to get in that situation on the road with their crowd?

STEVE NASH: Well, the crowd didn't score any buckets to us, so we couldn't expect them to score too much for us on the road either.

Q. Who is going to benefit the most with J. J. (Joe Johnson) back?

STEVE NASH: Obviously it will help me, give me a rest a little bit, take some of the responsibility off my shoulders. But I think it just helps everyone. The depth is so important having that extra guy, especially a guy of his caliber.

Q. What do you have to do in the next game?

STEVE NASH: All we can do is keep trying, keep trying to do the best we can. We're going to give ourselves a chance and see if we're good enough. If we're not, we're not. We feel every bit as confident going into this game as going into Game 1.

Q. What would have changed the outcome of the last two games?

JIM JACKSON: Fast break here or there, layup here or there, offensive rebound instead of losing by three, maybe we win by two.

Q. You guys have fallen behind in the first quarter the first two games here at home. You certainly don't want to do that on the road in their home court?

JIM JACKSON: It's been a bad predicament, going back to the Dallas series. Of that first game every game we played we are down at the end of the first quarter. That's not a good predicament to be in because you're always scraping to fight back to get back into the game. If you are spotting a team five or six points, against a team like San Antonio, you can't do that.

Q. Is it understood that the energy has to be there to finish strong?

JIM JACKSON: I think it's plays that hurt us before that lead up to that. Yes, in the fourth quarter, yes, they did score, but some plays that happened in the third quarter that could have been avoided to get -- instead of that 7-point lead we could have been up 10 or 12. So it's a combination not only in the fourth, but mistakes that you make earlier in the game.

Q. You going back to the bench, coming off the bench. You all right with that?

JIM JACKSON: Yeah, I got my bench pass, I still kept it in my back pocket, I never gave it up.

Q. Talk about the first quarter start or the lack of them, if you will?

AMARE STOUDEMIRE: I think we have got to come up stronger, more aggressive on the offensive end and defensive. I think in the first quarter they get a lot of loose balls and we got a tendency to turn the ball over. I think we come out a little too up for the game. We have got to calm down a little bit, less turnovers and play better defense, we'll be in good shape.

Q. What is the difference between that and the fourth quarter when you can't seem to get it done on the defensive end?

AMARE STOUDEMIRE: Well, I think we scored the ball well in the fourth. They do a better job, they had the better shots. Have to do a better job defensively in the fourth. Close them out.

Q. What are you guys doing in practice relative to --

AMARE STOUDEMIRE: We just went over different strategies and watched game film to see what we're doing wrong in the fourth quarter. We have got a good understanding of what we were doing wrong out there and we're ready to roll.

Q. Being down 0-2, is there nothing to lose at this point?

AMARE STOUDEMIRE: We just got to go and play as hard as we can.

Q. Have you been loose? Obviously you guys came out there the last --

AMARE STOUDEMIRE: Not too loose to the point where we turn the ball over. We have got to protect the ball, protect every possession. That's our main focus right now.

Q. Is it possible you guys have been giving San Antonio too much respect?

AMARE STOUDEMIRE: Not really. I think they deserve it. As a team we've got to come out and show them that we're playing Phoenix Suns basketball and we have got to do our best job.

Q. How did it go this morning?

JOE JOHNSON: It was good, ready to practice.

Q. How was the doctor's appointment?

JOE JOHNSON: It was good. I feel better.

Q. They took the stitches out of your mouth?


Q. Any adjustment or changes this morning?

JOE JOHNSON: No, no adjustments. I just went to the doctor, got the stitches taken out, I have dissolved stitches. Ready to play.

Q. How anxious are you? You have been out for a while?

JOE JOHNSON: I am very anxious. Just ready to get back out there and get in the rhythm with the guys, go down there and try and steal a Game 3.

Q. How much do you think you are going to help Steve (Nash)?

JOE JOHNSON: I think it's going to help him out a lot because he hasn't gotten a lot of rest. He's playing 40-plus minutes. It's kind of tough on him. He's having a great post-season, and he's been holding it down for us.

Q. He doesn't have to chase Tony Parker around --

JOE JOHNSON: Yeah, that gives him a lot more rest. We can come out and try and jump on them quicker.

Q. Any aspect of the game where you have to be a little bit more careful than normal?

JOE JOHNSON: No. Just going out and playing. I am not worried about my face.

Q. Do you think the mask will affect your shot?

JOE JOHNSON: No, I don't think it will affect it. I am going to come out and play like I have always played. Nothing is going to change if you have a mask on.

Q. Do you feel any pressure at all? Everyone keeps saying that 0-2, J. J. (Joe Johnson) is coming back for Game 3?

JOE JOHNSON: No, I don't feel any pressure at all. Whatever the results may be, then that's that.

Q. You have got your super hero cape?

JOE JOHNSON: I am just coming back doing what I was doing before I left. It is no biggy.

Q. Do you think you guys might get back more disbursement of shots like it was before where Steve (Nash) --

JOE JOHNSON: I think it will. Steve (Nash), he's taken what the defense gives him and they gave him 24 shots, so he has to take them. We just got -- I think we just got to buckle up a little bit more on the defensive end.

Q. Do you think you can help that first quarter out a bit?

JOE JOHNSON: Just bring my energy. I don't think it is one specific thing. It's a few. It is just me coming out and playing and just playing hard.

End of FastScripts...

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