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Amare’s excuse has no defense

New York Knicks star Amare Stoudemire won’t make any all-defensive teams.

In fact, anyone who has watched him try to defend the pick-and-roll probably is offended we used his name and any derivation of the word defense in the same sentence.

But don’t blame Stoudemire for his one-dimensional skills. He’s just never had anyone show him what to do on the defensive end of the floor.

“I think just having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,” he told Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. “I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career, so to now have a coach that actually teaches defense and teaches strategies, and knows positioning and posture, how to guard different plays, it’s going to be helpful. I’m going to take it as a challenge, and I’m going to accept the challenge and try to improve as a player.”

Clearly, that was meant as a shot at Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, who coached Stoudemire in New York and Phoenix. But his current coach, Mike Woodson, was on D’Antoni’s staff with the Knicks.

Couldn’t Stoudemire have asked him for defensive lessons at that time?

Stoudemire also has played for three other coaches throughout his career – Frank Johnson, Terry Porter and Alvin Gentry. None of them taught him how to play defense?

Apparently nobody taught him how to ask for help, either.

■ BIG STEIN – Thursday marked the 40-year anniversary of George Steinbrenner and a group of partners buying the New York Yankees for $10 million.

The baseball blog WasWatching.com passed along a fascinating quote from Steinbrenner at the time.

“I won’t be active in the day-to-day operations of the club at all,” Steinbrenner said. “I can’t spread myself so thin. I’ve got enough headaches with my shipping company.”

How times changed.

Nobody is sure when Steinbrenner went from passive participant to a hands-on-everything executive, but the best guess is it happened around the time George Costanza stopped bringing him a calzone from Paisano’s every day for lunch.

■ CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – The Packers are preparing to face the Vikings for the third time this season, and the second time in six days, on opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

Green Bay knows what Minnesota wants to do, but the Packers have been unable to do much about it this season.

Adrian Peterson has gained 409 yards on the ground against Green Bay this season, including 199 on Sunday in the win that earned Minnesota a playoff berth.

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews told USA Today this week that the trend won’t continue.

“We aren’t giving up 200 again,” he said.

He might be right.

If conditions at Lambeau are bad and the Vikings get more conservative than usual, Peterson could go for 300 yards.

■ SURE, GO AHEAD – Kent Somers of AzCentral.com reported via Twitter that the Arizona Cardinals have asked the Steelers permission to interview offensive coordinator Todd Haley for their vacant head coaching position.

Not only is Pittsburgh expected to grant that request, but Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he would send a jet and help negotiate the deal.


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