PHOENIX — Every year a big fuss is made about how many minutes Steve Nash will play.
Every year the Suns talk about acquiring a backup point guard to limit Nash’s minutes, and every year he still plays a good chunk of time, although his minutes have decreased slightly each of the past three years.
But even after playing 37 minutes of MVP-caliber ball in each of the Suns’ first two victories, the last person to be worrying about Nash’s minutes is Two Time himself.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Nash said after Friday’s victory. “I take care of myself, prepare to play all summer. I’m not out playing golf or drinking, so I feel like I can handle it. If there’s a time in the season that I need a little rest, we’ll address it then. Who knows, maybe I’ll go through a stretch where I play 29 minutes a game, but if I play 37 a game for the season that’s OK.”
Nash thinks it’s only natural for everybody to worry about his minutes, especially since he will be turning 36 in a couple of months, but he points to the fact that he has not missed many games throughout his career (aside from the strike year, he has played at least 70 games in all but one year since his rookie season), and we all know he hasn’t exactly been fatigued come playoff time.
“I think there’s sort of fallacy that’s created about durability, and I think the truth is that I’m pretty durable,” Nash said. “If I get tired during stretches of the season, so does everybody.
“If we spend a lot of time worrying about it, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy where you’re like, ‘God, I’m always tired,’ whereas if you just enjoy yourself and get your rest then it doesn’t add stress.”
Suns don’t change for anyone
During Gentry’s pregame chat, a reporter brought up the possibility of the Suns slowing things down a bit against a Warriors team that plays even faster than Phoenix.
Suffice it to say the thought never crossed the mind of the Suns’ head coach.
“The one thing you can’t do is try to match the way they play,” Gentry said. “We’re going to play the way we play.”
Gentry continued by saying you never want to get away from your strengths just to match up with the opposition.
For example, Gentry does not have a problem with opposing point guards trying to post up Steve Nash time and time again because then they’re getting away from what they do best and what they’re used to doing.
It should also come as no surprise that the Suns raced out to 30 fastbreak points against the Warriors after recording just two against the Clippers.
Los Angeles made it a major point of emphasis to get back, which allowed the Suns to win the rebounding battle against the bigger Clippers. To Gentry it’s pick your poison: either pound the Suns on the glass and allow the Suns to run all over you, or get back and let the Suns stay close rebounding-wise.
Or if you’re the Warriors, you could lose the rebounding battle and not get back on defense.
As I pointed out in yesterday’s gamer, one of the most positive developments to me was the effort Amare showed on defense. He took a pair of charges, ferociously blocked a shot and picked up a pair of steals, alertly deflecting a pass by getting his hands in the passing lane to record one of them.
Most importantly, he seemed to really care and take pride in his defense, which we all know has not often been the case for Amare.
“He has worked harder in training camp and in the preseason than I’ve ever seen him work,” Gentry said. “He wants to get better. That’s telling me he’s in the right spot and he’s got the right rotations. That doesn’t happen over night. I think he’s doing everything he can to be the best defensive player he can.”
Steve the great
After dishing 20 dimes last night for the sixth time as a Sun, Nash is one 20-assist game behind KJ for the most such contests in team history. Nobody besides Nash and the major of Sacramento have accomplished that feat as a Sun.