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NBA Playoffs, Suns Spurs Game 1: By the way, Steve Nash can score, too. A lot.

May 4, 2010, 9:07 AM EDT

Nash_layup.jpgHere’s the counterintuitive trick to beating the Phoenix Suns — you want Steve Nash to score. Seriously. The theory is that when Steve Nash is forced to shoot he is less dangerous than when he is feeding Amare Stoudemire and Grant Hill dunks. Phil Jackson has used this defense with a lot of success.

The problem — Steve Nash can score. The man is a very good shooter; you still have to make it hard on him.

George Hill and the Spurs did not — Nash had 17 first quarter points, seemingly all on layups, and that fueled a confident Suns squad that held on for a 111-102 win in game one.

Hill, a very nice up and coming player who looked so good against Dallas, got benched to start the second half after Nash just abused him. That really says more about Nash than Hill — three days off to rest his sore hip (and back and countless other nagging injuries) made Nash look like a new man. He finished with 33 points on 13 of 19 shooting.

Nash still got his assists (10) and late got the help he needed — the Suns ended the game on a mini-run capped by a Jason Richardson three that was the dagger.

Defensively — and the Suns do play some defense now — the Suns plan in the crunch was pretty clear: Don’t let Manu Ginobili beat us. They doubled him on the perimeter, took the ball out of his hands, and dared some other Spur to beat them with the three ball. It worked because the Spurs shot 21 percent from three (4 of 19) on the night.

Still, Ginobili had 27, Tony Parker had 26 off the bench, and Tim Duncan had 20 and 11. The big three for the Spurs shot a respectable 50 percent from the floor. All the other Spurs shot just 37 percent.

Still the Spurs had some answers, they actually led early in the fourth quarter. Well, I don’t know that giving Keith Bogans minutes is an answer as much as a band aid on the problem, but it worked — he was out there for the Spurs 13-0 run that made it a game at the end.

The game was close because the Spurs made a couple of nice runs, but the Suns dominated he majority of it. Those Spurs runs were enough to put fear in the hearts of Suns fans, people with plenty of San Antonio inflicted scars. But for most of the game, it was the Suns that dictated the tempo, the style of play. That’s why they got the win. If they can do that three more times, they can exorcise some demons.

  1. Tom - May 4, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Where did this defense come from? Portland?
    Maybe there is hope. After all, runnng a sick defense is just as awesome as a fast break slam dunk.
    Thank-you Portland.

  2. Eli - May 4, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Is this your first Suns game this year, Tom?
    They’ve been playing good D all year….well, at least from the All Star break forward.

  3. Marques - May 4, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Well if you’re enlightening us with the fact that Steve Nash can score a lot…why don’t you tell us how many points he had in the game? This is sporst writing these days? Geesh.

  4. jojo - May 4, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    yeah: how many points did he score? what a horrible article!

  5. Anonymous - May 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    it says right there: 33 points………wake up dude

  6. gnipgnop - May 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Read the article you donkeys, he had 33.

  7. Kelly - May 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    What part of 33 points didn’t you understand? Reread the article it’s in there.

  8. Marques - May 4, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    gnipgnop and Kelly:
    The author just added that after my post, it wasn’t there before!
    Of course he won’t admit it by posting on here like some of the better writers do.

  9. Randy Qualls - May 4, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    Last line of the story…generally we exOrcise demons and exErcise muscles. Of course, to be a writer may not require literacy.

  10. Kurt Helin - May 4, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    I did not have the score in the first posting, an oversight on my part. The editors at NBC found it before the commenters here did and let me know, but some people read it before the fix had been made. My bad.
    Thanks for reading. If this somehow greatly offended you… there are other blogs out there. Enjoy.

  11. Anonymous - May 4, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    ACTUALLY HE DID TELL US – 33 PTS

  12. riel - May 5, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    ,.steve nash is still a better point guard than toni parker..
    if you analyze well tha game..nash made 33 points and 10 good assist..
    even he is scoring.he still can do the real role of a point guard..ha can do a better play for his team/team mates..steve nash bacome better in everygame..for me he is the best point guard in the league today..

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