Suns 107, Pistons 97 – Just plain Nashty

Posted by on February 9th, 12:01 am

Nash the ball passed every which way up, over and around the Pistons. (AP/Duane Burleson)

Nash passed the ball every which way up, over and around the Pistons. (AP/Duane Burleson)

A couple people have asked me about the logic behind the Suns making their 35-year-old point guard “untouchable” while entering into trade discussions to potentially move the other core members of the team.

Next time I’m asked that I won’t even have to respond. I’ll just tell that person to pop in tape of the Suns’ 107-97 win over the Pistons.

Nash was Steve Nash at his best, finding teammates every which way on his way to a season-high 21 assists (one short of a career high) to go with 15 points while assisting on two more baskets than the Pistons as a team.

He found Shaq, Amare and J-Rich for emphatic slams and Leandro Barbosa on his patented back cuts for two. Nash spread the wealth around, assisting on five buckets from LB, J-Rich and Amare, four from Shaq and one each from Grant Hill and Matt Barnes on a night he moved into the NBA’s top 10 in career assists with an exclamation point.

If the Suns trade Amare and get back a four to replace him they’ll still be the Suns, and if they deal Shaq they’ll be more than the Suns than they have been at any point this season.

But if Steve Kerr were to trade away Steve Nash, I’m not sure anybody would quite recognize the team Phoenix puts out on the floor.

The thinking behind asking such a question is if the Suns want to rebuild for the summer of 2010, what good would it do to hold on to Nash?

At that point I agree it would be better for the Suns to get their David Lee and Nate Robinson or whatever and better for Nash to be in a situation that won’t make it seem like he’s wasting the final years of his career in a losing situation.

Depending on how things look next summer for the franchise, that might even be the time to make such a move.

But for now, Suns fans should just enjoy the brilliance that is Steve Nash and hope this team remains competitive enough that it makes sense to offer him a two-year extension so he can finish his career in Phoenix.

Even after making some ridiculously difficult passes, like the behind-the-backer to Shaq and the alley-oop in traffic to J-Rich, Nash was his humble self.

“I’d like to give credit to my teammates that made the plays, got open for me and found some lanes to get in the paint,” he told Suns.com. “They deserve a lot of credit.”

Like they did in the previous game against Golden State, the Suns pushed the tempo a bit, and not surprisingly Nash did what he’s always done.

That made for another teaser of a game in which the front office can look at how Phoenix handled a solid Detroit club and wonder if this group should be broken up.

The rumors aren’t because of lack of talent. Instead the last few month or so the sum of the parts have been much greater than the whole, and Amare hasn’t played like a guy the Suns want to make the centerpiece of the franchise going forward.

“We played well tonight,” Amare told Suns.com. “We started to run a lot more tonight and I think that the game plan has changed the past couple of nights and we are starting to run again to start the offense. Guys are starting to roll to the basket more and it feels good. It’s fun out there; in the locker room we are good. We are with each other a lot and we have a lot of camaraderie.”

That’s the kind of quote that makes me wonder if breaking this team up is such a good idea.

On the flip side, maybe they rally around this heading into the trade deadline, and then fall apart if no move is made.

The box score looked good in this one, starting with just 12 turnovers, including just two from Nash on his stellar night. Six players scored in double figures, Shaq went for 20 and 10, J-Rich 21 and LB 17 off the bench.

From the fun facts department, the Suns swept the Pistons for the first time since 1999-00, Hill’s final season in Detroit. Hill also exacted a measure of revenge with his first victory in Motown as a visitor following five defeats.

The win also moves Phoenix past Utah into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and ensures that the Suns won’t go into the break following a disaster trip.

They can actually take some momentum into All-Star weekend if they can split the remaining two games, at Philly and Cleveland.

Phoenix knows each game could be the last with this particular set of teammates, but why did they have to wait until now to look like they enjoy playing with each other?

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Amare Stoudemire · Detroit Pistons · Phoenix Suns Recap · Steve Nash · Trades

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike // Feb 9, 2009 at 12:22 am

    When LB hugged Amare after he layed it up at the end of the 1st? quarter I was a bit sad. LB, Amare and Nash are long-time teammates and they want to break them up for financial reasons? Just let them play and figure it out. Not going to get anything better for Amare right now. Seeing them play tonight made me remember how well these guys know each other. At this point, give them a chance and let's see what happens in the playoffs.

    Of course, if you want to be bold and fire Porter in exchange for a real coach, that is what you really need.

    But I just realized — that ends up costing more money, and Sarver isn't about spending more than he has to.

  • 2 Brandon // Feb 9, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Here’s to hoping for a big win tomorrow. We need to string a few together…

  • 3 Brob Dingcork // Feb 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    “That made for another teaser of a game in which the front office can look at how Phoenix handled a solid Detroit club and wonder if this group should be broken up.”

    I wouldn’t read too much into this, considering that Detroit is also a former perennial contender that’s been sliding fast due to a chemistry-wrecking trade.

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