Don't cry, Stevie. You've at least got one good year left...
Can there be any doubt two-time MVP Steve Nash is the goat of the series pitting the Suns against arch-rival San Antonio? I know, I know. David Stern's an ass for penalizing Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for getting off the bench in Game 4 after Robert "Hurt-a-Man" Horry hip-checked Nash into the scorer's table. Horry even bragged about it afterwards, scorning Nash's "acting ability." Yeah, Horry was penalized two games versus one apiece for Big Stat and Diaw, but Horry couldn't carry Amare's jockstrap, people. It was a cheap, premeditated trick, and it worked. Minus Stat, the Suns ran out of solar power towards end of Game 5. The gripe was that with all hands on deck, the Suns would've won on their home court. Still, heading into enemy territory, the expectation on my part was that they'd pull it out in Game 6, and bring it back home for Game 7.
Think again, Portnoy. Nash allowed the Spurs to set the pace in G6, a grueling back and forth that ended the first half with a two-point lead for San Antonio. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Spurs had turned that into a 14-point gap, too large for the Suns to close in the fourth. The Spurs closed it out at 114-106, and that was with Stoudemire shooting 38 points! Sheesh. What the eff happened in the third quarter? Here it is, from the goat's own mouth in the post-game press conference.
"If you look at the third quarter, they made a great run there," Nash stated sullenly. "We kind of fell asleep mentally and they took advantage of it and that was the difference in the game."
Fell asleep? Choked is more like it. But the team captain wouldn't own his loss, despite having admitted his team's fuckup in the third quarter. Asked what he could do next year to get past San Antonio, something the Suns will inevitably have to do post-regular season, Nash bitched bitterly, "I think not having two players taken from us for a game would help."
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Hey, as I stated in my Thursday post "NBA Commish David Stern: Jackass du jour," Coach D should've put potato-eater Pat Burke into Game 5 with explicit instructions to send Tim Duncan's ass into the third row. But D'Antoni's spending all his time readin' Gandhi, apparently. Barring that, once Game 5 was over, the Suns had the manpower to make it happen, but they didn't.
At least Stat was willing to man-up, and take responsibility, though his own performance was solid. Asked one of those "what if" questions in the post-game, Stat told reporters, "I don't think about it too much. It is what it is. You know, we got suspended for Game 5. It happened that way, but we had a chance to win it here in Game 6, and we didn't get it done."
Who sounds like the team captain to you -- Nash or Stat? Remember, Nash is the veteran here, not Stat. Yet, Nash is playin' the crybaby Canadian. Ever hear of "projection," bubbe? You know, in the Sigmund Freud sense of the word? Nash's mad at himself for failing to rally his team like a two-time MVP should. Similar criticism was leveled recently at Nash's butt-buddy Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, who garnered this year's MVP even though the Mavs were ousted by Golden State. We expect more from an MVP. And though Nash hit some valuable three-pointers in the 4th quarter of G6, the damage was already done by the Suns' lousy third.
Everyone knows Nash's one of the best players in the NBA. I'm not trying to argue otherwise. But the guy makes a gazillion bucks a year, he's a leader, and more is expected of him. Sorry, Stevie. That's why you're the effin' goat.