by Marcel Mutoni

On Saturday night, Chris Paul and his New Orleans Hornets strolled into the Valley of the Sun and handed Phoenix its fourth home loss of the season. Afterwards, Amare Stoudemire was visibly upset (he only took 11 shots), and called into question his team’s ability to focus and execute.

“We have to get it together. We’re a veteran team,” he said. “We should know our strategies; we should know what we’re doing and do it. Sometimes you mess up, but overall we should execute the majority of the time. If we do that and play hard, we can win almost every game. But if we don’t get smart about the game of basketball, then we can’t win.”

Yesterday, STAT didn’t show up for a team practice. GM Steve Kerr says that the star forward had an excuse, but it remains unclear if disciplinary action will be taken.

You know, for a team that’s leading their division and played quite well during what was arguably the toughest stretch of its schedule, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of happiness in Phoenix.

“You can’t win at this level if you don’t have great chemistry and you don’t pull for each other and if you’re worried about your shots or worried about yourself or making excuses or pointing fingers at other players,” Steve Nash said.

I’m but a lowly amateur psychoanalyst, but could the pressure of the last few years’ Playoff flameouts be getting to these guys? Discuss.