Suns 108, Nuggets 101 – Nash finishes Denver

Nash's teammates love his clutch ways. (Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)

Nash's teammates love his clutch ways. (Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)

So I was in Vegas over the weekend for Arizona’s first bowl game in 10 years (what a rush!) and was tempted to take the over on this Suns game, with the line set in the neighborhood of 222.5.

I ultimately decided against it because I don’t like gambling on games I can’t watch live, which turned out to be a smart decision.

But I would have been wise to take the Suns despite giving up five points as they ended up downing the Nuggets, 108-101.

They did so because Steve Nash came up huge with a long two and a pair of threes to ice it. Those points made up eight of the 16 Nash scored on the evening on a very solid night for the two-time MVP that also included 11 assists and just three turnovers.

“I just tried to be aggressive and look for opportunities to help us win the game,” Nash told Suns.com. “I was just fortunate to make some tonight that helped us win.”

I sometimes wonder why Nash doesn’t shoot the basketball more himself.

His shooting numbers are a bit down this season, but he has shot better than 50 percent from the floor the past four years and between 43 and 47 percent from deep.

He finished off Denver on Saturday night, and as Nuggets head coach George Karl said after this one and Mike D’Antoni said last week, we’ve all seen it before.

Nash basically won the Oklahoma City game earlier in the season by getting NBA Jam “He’s on fire!” hot, and it seems like whenever the Suns play in Dallas he does the same.

It’s almost like Nash has a switch that he turns on sometimes that puts him into scoring in bunches mode.

Other times he’s The Great Distributor, frequently racking up stat lines of something like two points and six assists in first quarters in which he’s obviously just trying to get his teammates involved without worrying about scoring.

But Steve Nash wouldn’t be Steve Nash if he were a shoot-first point guard, and especially on a team that also features Amare, Shaq and J-Rich, the Suns really need Steve Nash the distributor rather than Steve Nash the scorer on most nights.

I just wonder how many points Nash could score if he’d be a little more selfish, because it seems like shots he would pass up earlier in the game are shots he nails in the opposition’s face during crunch time.

This and that

It was great to see another balanced scoring attack with the starters all finishing in double figures, including Amare’s 27 and the 19 from Shaq and J-Rich.

Also, watching the Nuggets for the first time this season, Nene is legit. The big Brazilian went off for 20 and 15 in this one, and the Suns announcers couldn’t stop talking about how much better he looks than he did in prior years.

Maybe the Nuggets knew something when they selected him before Amare. OK, he wasn’t that good, but I doubt anybody in Denver is missing Marcus Camby and his fat contract right about now.

J.R. Smith also tossed in 18 of his 23 points in the first half when he looked like he would never miss from deep. This Nuggets team can be really scary, and after watching them for the first time it’s no surprise to me they’ve gotten off to such a hot start. They’re better than people think.

As for the Suns’ rotation, Robin Lopez played 15 effective minutes, scoring four points, grabbing four boards and recording a sick block on Carmelo playing help defense.

It looks like the rotation will continue to be the Big Seven and then a combo of Lopez and Lou Amundson (three minutes) depending on who’s better for matchup purposes.

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