Nash steals show in battle of unbeatens
by Andrew Kennedy
No matter how old they get, the great ones will always have their moments and their magic never entirely runs out.
Tonight the Phoenix Suns topped the Miami Heat 104-96 in a battle of two unbeaten teams early in the NBA season.
It was future Hall of Famer Steve Nash who stole the show from the Miami home crowd.
Nash had a quiet first half as second-year point guard Mario Chalmers held him to just six points and two assists.
For a moment it looked like the 13-year veteran had finally seen his age catch up to his ability. There were plays where you could see Nash wanting to make something happen he used to do all the time in his youth but he was one step behind, something that fans of the point guard aren’t used to.
Nash also saw his dribble lost on more than one occasion to Chalmers and had fast breaks interrupted due to pressure put on the old floor general by the Heat defense.
Nash was a different player in the second half, clearly motivated to improve upon the first. It wasn’t a player we hadn’t seen before, just one we hadn’t seen in a long time.
Nash put together one of the best second halves a point guard could, scoring 24 points while dishing out eight assists. He finished the game connecting on 11-of-15 field goals including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
He was the old Nash again. The MVP Nash. The best point guard closer in the game.
In the first half, Chalmers looked a confident player who wasn’t afraid to guard the old man one-on-one and for 94 feet.
In the second half, Nash made Chalmers look like a rookie, always turning his head looking for a teammate to help try and stop the former MVP.
Nash put in 17 points in the third quarter single-handedly bringing Phoenix back into the game.
With the score 81-75 in favor of the Heat after three quarters, the Suns came back led by Nash to outscore Miami 29-15 in the final quarter and get the win improving to 4-0 on the season.
Nash made all kinds of shots during the stretch including many of the fadeaway one-footers he made famous during his career. And whenever the defense would back off, he made the pay raining in a three pointer. Whenever they switched out on him on picks, he found the open man like it was meant to be.
It’s a part of sports that every fan loves to see from their favorite player when they get old: when old tricks still work for the old dogs.
Kareem’s sky hook still worked into the late 1980s.
Stockton still found Malone on pick-and-rolls in the 2000s.
Reggie Miller would still hit clutch threes in the twilight of his career.
And no matter how unperfect it was when Michael Jordan returned to the NBA with the Wizards, every Jordan fan would still smile to themselves watching MJ make fadeaways in the face of his defenders.
And now those who are disciples of the great maestro that is Steve Nash, are still getting a chance to see greatness from one of the best point guards to ever put on a uniform.
With his remaining years in the league numbered, every game must now be cherished. And with the Suns sitting tall at 4-0 to start the season, we will see if the legend still has one magical run left in him.