Wednesday , Apr , 08 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Shaq: They’ll Blame Me for Suns Missing Playoffs

"Losing Amaré hurt us because we traded Boris (Diaw)," said Suns guard Steve Nash, referring to a December deal that sent Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary to Charlotte for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley. "We didn’t have a backup so we played threes (small forwards) at the four (power forward) spot. That’s a big problem. We played fairly well in spurts but it’s hard to overcome not having a four on the roster. Hindsight is 20-20. Obviously, at the time, we were disappointed to see those guys go because we love those guys and they’re great players. But under (former coach) Terry (Porter), it wasn’t working. They didn’t like playing for him and he didn’t like them. So they traded them."

Suns center Shaquille O’Neal admitted that he is not a "defensive guru." He said he has benefited from teams that played good help defense. Now, his team’s inability to make stops has cost him a postseason for the first time since he was a rookie.

"Of course, when it’s all said and done, I’ll get the blame," O’Neal said. "I accept that. I never run from that. I understand that."