One of the countless questions hanging over the Phoenix Suns' 2009-2010 season was whether the team's 35-year-old captain still had any hustle left despite his advancing age.
Apparently, he does, since the dude pretty much single-handedly carried the Suns to victory on Wednesday night in its season-opener against the Los Angeles Clippers at L.A.'s Staples Center. Nash racked up 15 of his 24 points during the fourth quarter alone, including delivering an uber-clutch, game-winning layup with 5.5 seconds left in the contest.
The Purple and Orange Gang's other resident senior citizen, Grant Hill, was also pretty potent from the paint, scoring 19 points and 13 rebounds during the evening. Other players producing double figures during the contest included Leandro Barbosa (17 points) and Channing Frye (12 points).
Amar'e Stoudemire also returned to the lineup after recovering from his retina problems that kept him out of the final 29 games of last season. And while there might not be any "I" in team, but there certainly are two good eyes in the power forward's head again as he amassed 16 points and eight free-throws. The power forward also provided a vital defensive effort against the Clippers' Eric Gordon, who launched a three-point game-winner at the final buzzer but came up short.
It was one of many nail-biters during the game as the improved Clippers held the lead for most of the night, including being down by eight in fourth quarter, which is when Nash began notching more than a dozen points. The Suns eventually took the lead at 1:41 left in the game, after a trey from Barbosa, and never looked back.
One down, 81 left to go. Let's hope Nash continues to be competent during the Suns home opener against the Golden State Warriors at U.S. Airways Center on Friday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. More info: www.suns.com.