Facing a significantly younger field, Suns point guard Steve Nash captured his second skills title in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of All-Star Saturday Night.
“I asked them since I’m a lot older if I could start at the second rack,” Nash joked to TNT Cheryl Miller after the competition.
Nash cruised into the second round as one of the top two times on the dribbling, passing and shooting course. Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams posted the best first-round time of 34.1 seconds, just better than Nash’s 35.0, which just barely edged Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings’ time of 35.7 seconds.
Nash improved in the second round, posting a time of 29.9 seconds, while Williams’ passing seemed to fall apart as he finished in 37.9 seconds.
“The pressure, these young guys, it’s tough, but I got my second wind,” Nash said. “Those guys are great point guards and great athletes.”
Hoisting the skills trophy above his head was Nash’s second honor in the last 24 hours, as he lit the Olympic cauldron in Vancouver last night. Nash also won the Skills Challenge in 2005.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose did not defend the skills title he won in 2009 due to an injury suffered against the Orlando Magic last week. Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook took his place, posting a time of 44.1 seconds in the first round.
Frye can’t find his shot
Looking to give the Suns two All-Star Saturday Night victories in the three-point contest, Channing Frye wasn’t able to connect on enough deep balls to even make the second round.
The first center to compete in the three-point shootout since Sam Perkins in 1997, Frye notched a total score of 15 in the first round. The score was tied with the New York Knicks’ Danilo Gallinari and defending champion Daequan Cook of the Miami Heat. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Chauncey Billups of the Denver Nuggets, and Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics (the eventual winner) advanced to the second round.
Frye just couldn’t seem to find his groove, and his big feet hurt him as well. Frye had two shots waived off for stepping on the line, shots that would have tied him with Pierce and Billups in the first round.