Yes, it was nice to see the San Antonio Spurs pull out their ninth consecutive victory, this one without Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Gary Neal. With that amount of talent sitting at home in San Antonio, the Spurs diverse bench was asked to take over the complexion of the game. In atypical fashion, the Spurs did not blow out their opponent by at least double-digits. The four point victory snapped their franchise high streak of eight consecutive double-digit victories.
Patrick Mills and Tiago Splitter scored 27 and 26 points, respectively. Splitter, especially, embodied efficiency. He scored 26 points in 19:46 of action on 76.9 percent shooting.
But the real story belonged to 38-year-old point guard Steve Nash. As the clock ticked down, among the desperate Suns fans clamoring for Nash’s services, the omnipresent fear that Nash might not longer be a Sun loomed.
Nash finished the night with eight points and seven assists. He certainly has played better games. After orchestrating the highly entertaining Seven Seconds or Less Suns, Nash, considerably older and less capable of scoring with the same proficiency, was subjected to the sidelines in the waning moments. His team’s fate, at least for this year, was sealed in their 12-point loss to Utah. His fate, however, might’ve been sealed against the Spurs.
To his credit, Nash was exceedingly loyal the Phoenix Suns organization. They owe him the courtesy of leaving the team in the offseason. It’s certainly hard for a fan base to lose a player that embodied selfless basketball to perfection, while remaining loyal even after they gutted a potential offensive juggernaut.
And I guess that’s why it’s fitting that Nash’s (potential) last game as a Phoenix Sun was against the San Antonio Spurs. They were, and remain, the Suns’ number one roadblock. If it weren’t for San Antonio, maybe Phoenix has a championship. Maybe two. If it wasn’t for San Antonio, the Suns’ flaws might not have been so easily exploited. If it wasn’t for San Antonio, maybe Nash wouldn’t even consider leaving today.
But even if Nash does decide to leave the comfy confines of Arizona, his incredible run as the face of the Suns organization should still be remembered fondly.
Nash didn’t deliver a title. He wasn’t ever a great defender. But he was a transcendent player that captivated millions of peoples and their imaginations just because he had an adept knowledge of the point guard position.
Guys like that don’t come around very often. Just like Spurs fans will vividly remember the Tim Duncan Era, Suns fans will look back at the Nash era as one of the most exhilarating offensive displays in basketball history.
Even if he joins the Miami Heat next year or some other contender, you will never be able to take away one thing from Suns fans: Steve Nash, the Sun. The elite point guard. The Canadian who revitalized basketball in Phoenix.
In the end, that will matter more than a meaningless box score line on April 25th. Nash left an indelible mark on Phoenix and you’d be hard-pressed to change that.
(Editor’s note: Unfortunately, I will be unable to cover the Spurs until this Sunday. Instead, staff writer Joe Bendiez will provide you with consistent coverage of the Spurs while I am on brief hiatus. Joe will cover the Spurs very well and probably without excessive tangents like I tend to do.)
Mills and Splitter combined for 53 points on 19-of-36 shooting … Mills’ 27 points surpassed his previous career high of 23, which he set against Golden State on Apr. 13, 2011 … Splitter’s 26 points was also a career-high … The Spurs assisted on 23 of 41 shots (56.1 percent) … Their true shooting percentage for the game was also 56.1 percent … In what could be his last game as a Sun, Steve Nash logged 17:27, scoring eight points and dishing seven assists … Shannon Brown scored a team-high 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting; Brown finished April with averages of 14.5 points and 4.1 rebounds … James Anderson logged 28:43 of action, the most off the bench, but he only scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting … Anderson did, however, lead the Spurs with a +13 … Cory Joseph, a day removed from appearing in the D-League Finals, scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds … There were 12 lead changes and 13 ties tonight … Telafair has revitalized his career with Phoenix; he scored 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting … In his last 10 games, Telfair averaged 11.6 points, 4.2 assists and 53.5 percent shooting …