View Full Version : Suns Expecting Large Contributions from Barbosa in NBA Playoffs

04-26-2006, 06:45 PM
From AZ Central.com (http://www.azcentral.com/sports/suns/articles/0423sunsnotes0423.html)

D'Antoni, Nash expect Barbosa's speed to be major factor in series Doug Haller , The Arizona Republic

Leandro Barbosa was asked Saturday to reveal his playoff highlight of last year, and the third-year guard stammered a moment, unsure of what to say.

"I really didn't have a chance to play," said Barbosa, later adding that Suns coach Mike D'Antoni "had confidence in the other players, and it was my first playoffs" and how that led to a lot of sitting and watching from the bench.

Barbosa averaged 9.7 minutes in 12 playoff games last year. This time around, starting with today's opening contest against the Lakers, that output will increase for one reason:

Barbosa has confidence.

"(He's) a big factor," D'Antoni said. "That's speed that no one really has in the league, and it's hard to match. It makes us real quick. If he's knocking down shots and going crazy, and he's done that before, then he can easily average 20 to 25 points (in this series)."

Barbosa battled through two knee injuries, a spinal tap and a couple of mysterious illnesses to average a career-high 13.1 points this season. He seemed to drive past any player he wanted. When he didn't, he relied on his shooting, 44 percent from three-point range, third best in the league.

"It's been huge for him not to have the point guard responsibilities this season," Steve Nash said. "He can just go out and play and be aggressive and not have to worry about being a decision maker every play."

D'Antoni discussed Barbosa's progress a few weeks ago, and how the guard still makes mistakes that make D'Antoni want to scream. But then he pointed out that Barbosa's only 23, and that often, speed is the problem, not the person.

"If we were going that fast in a car, that's when you make that bad decision because you only have that split second (to react)," he said. "He just has to understand to change speeds a little, and he will as he gets older."

05-07-2006, 03:21 AM
Great game 7 for Barbosa.
Leandro scored 26 points(top scorer) of the bench and lead the Suns to the victory.
Nice to see Leandro playig well, he is an amazing player and was too fast for any player that tried to guard him.
I canīt wait to see him playing in the WC.
Congratulations leandrinho !!!!!!!

05-07-2006, 05:19 AM
Great game 7 for Barbosa.
Leandro scored 26 points(top scorer) of the bench and lead the Suns to the victory.

I was watching the game and he changed the entire approach. When Nash went out I think a lot of the Lakers thought they could take a break, but Barbosa sliced up their defense with 4-5 layups... and he was hitting his jumpshot.

Great game by Barbosa.


05-10-2006, 11:00 PM
From Arizona Republi: Link to article (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/sports/articles/0507boivin0507.html)

Barbosa gets it now, and he let Lakers have it
Paola Boivin, The Arizona Republic

Don't get into foul trouble and just play your game. You've got it now.

Good luck,
Dan D'Antoni

Leandro Barbosa read the note and took it to heart. It hasn't always been that way, because for all the gifts the Suns guard is blessed with, confidence isn't one of them.

Until now.

Did you see that flicker of movement in the Suns' 121-90 Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers? That was Barbosa, parting the purple sea.
Did you see that look of befuddlement on Phil Jackson's face? That was because of Barbosa, who was "probably the fastest guy on Earth" Saturday, according to Suns coach Mike D'Antoni.

Twenty-six points. Ten of 12 from the field. I think he had a swagger, but it was hard to tell because he was moving so fast.

"It was almost like he had an extra gear," Suns assistant Alvin Gentry said.
"He was going so fast, I don't think he could catch his breath," Mike D'Antoni said.

Goodbye, LA. Hello, LA.

See ya, Lakers. Look out, Clippers.

Barbosa represents everything right about this team. His growth in this series is a product of hard work and of an organization that cultivates talent. There was almost a giddiness in the locker room about his success after the game because he is so well-like among this group.

"He could be one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet," James Jones said.
Barbosa is funny. He loves everything, loves everybody. Loves Nash. Loves the Suns. Loves his coaches. Loves the way he puts on his right sock in the morning.

"I love this team," he said.


The only thing that has slowed him is confidence. When a player is blessed with his speed, mistakes happen. When the third-year player would make those mistakes, he would beat himself up over them.

The addition of Dan D'Antoni, Mike's brother, has inspired Barbosa. The two work together every day with Dan continually feeding his ego. That's not something you often have to do with an NBA player.

Before every game, the assistant coach hands Barbosa a note with a list of instructions. It's usually 15 to 20 items long. Saturday, the list said only one thing. He took it to heart and because of it, the Lakers can start booking their off-season vacations.

For a guy that doesn't start, Barbosa sure makes a significant impact on this team. The Suns are 4-0 in the series when he scores in double figures.

His brief career has been a tricky trial for Barbosa. He's tried to learn from point guard Steve Nash without trying to become him.
He's finally figured it out.

"Tonight Boris (Diaw) and Leandro were our two best players," Nash said. "The two guys that people were disappointed in the beginning of the series. I think they are accustomed to the series now and they lost their virginity so to speak in the seventh game.

"Two great guys, two great teammates and both of them are interesting because they have the chance to be phenomenal players."

Barbosa's the consummate team player, a true reflection of this Suns team. For all the warm and fuzzy things written about the Lakers lately, it's hard not to remember the past.

Remember that Jackson in his book called Kobe Bryant "narcissistic"? Remember when Bryant told the Los Angeles Times that he didn't like Jackson as a person?

That's not the Suns. And certainly not Barbosa.

05-19-2006, 07:57 PM
Some photos from last night's loss where Barbosa had 25 points...