One-eyed Steve Nash finishes the Spurs

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It seems only fitting that some blood ended up getting spilled in the latest Suns-Spurs showdown. This series has been a dogfight for years, and the Suns were finally the bigger dog — the much bigger dog.

The bloodshed came at the hands of a Tim Duncan elbow (his elbows may have their own hands — can’t confirm either way) to the face of Suns point guard Steve Nash with 5:47 to go in the third quarter. The ensuing gash may have conjured thoughts of the alleged Suns-Spurs curse for some, but six stitches later Nash was back on the court looking a little like Sloth from “The Goonies” (see above).

In an incredible show of toughness, Nash returned to the floor for the fourth quarter with the swelling in his right eye consistently increasing. The pirate-esque Nash was just as efficient as a two-eyed Nash, as he contributed 10 points and five assists in the quarter and made the Spurs walk the plank.

“I don’t know how it didn’t keep me on the sidelines,” Nash told reporters after the game. “At first I felt like, ‘Am I being selfish by playing?’ because I couldn’t see a lot.”

Nash had a hand in nine of the Suns’ last 10 baskets in what ended up being a nail-biter in the final minute and finished with 20 points and nine assists for the game. It’s old news that Nash is an aggressive man machine, but the courage and toughness Nash brought to the floor in the fourth quarter is totally unquantifiable. It doesn’t show up in the final box score. But all who saw it will know it contributed to the most important statistic of all: 4-0.

“Steve played well,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said after the game. “There’s just something about the Spurs and that dog-gone right eye of his. If it’s not his eye it’s his nose — always something on his face.”

After fighting off a hip strain that held him back in Game 6 against the Trail Blazers, Nash turned out to be invaluable against the Spurs, averaging 22 points and 7.8 assists in the sweep. Add on the intangible leadership and experience, and the Spurs had no answer for Captain Canada.

For that matter, almost no one has had an answer for the 36-year-old, two-time MVP this season. Nash put together the best statistical season for a point guard over 35 in NBA history. He led the league in assists, started the All-Star game, won the All-Star Skills Challenge, influenced his teammates to eat better, helped foster some of the best chemistry in the NBA and mentored a budding young point guard. What more can you ask for?

“It started in training camp,” Gentry said. “He was just determined. He just said that we’re going to get back where we were and I’m going to see to that. The leadership that he’s brought to our team and what he’s done has been unbelievable.”

With more than a week off from play before the Suns (likely) meet the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals (did ANYONE think they’d be able to read that in October?), Nash’s eye should have plenty of time to heal up.

Nash’s play will be crucial against the Lakers. Though we have seen that the Suns can find a way to win without a major contribution from Nash, this is the top-seeded Lakers we are talking about. But then again, there was plenty of talk about how good the Spurs would be and what a tough series the Suns had ahead. That didn’t prove very founded at all.

For Suns fans, Sunday night’s win couldn’t have been much better. Amare Stoudemire was dominant, Nash put on one of his greatest displays of toughness yet and it all came on the hated Spurs’ home court.

Phoenix fans must now anxiously await what the Western Conference Finals have in store and what Nash will do next.

Tags: Phoenix Suns Playoffs San Antonio Spurs Steve Nash

  • Zach R.

    Congrats Suns fans, we fought as much as we could, but you guys had the better team this time around. I’ll definitely be rooting for yall the rest of the way.. its much more palatable when you lose to a class organization and I respect this group way more than those punks to the north.

    I hate the Dallas Mavericks.

    Also out of anyone in the league not in a Spurs uniform, I’d like to see Steve Nash get a ring the most, the dude deserves it. It's a good thing this team didn't get blown up a couple of months ago!

    And for the record, ‘07 was on you, not some Stern-sent boogeyman.

    Best of luck against the Lakers. I want to see them get beat.

    Zach R. (Go Spurs Go)

  • Mike Meez

    What a great way to finally beat the Spurs! For a team that many thought would barely make the playoffs this year, the Suns have surprised everyone except maybe themselves. While I'm ecstatic that they beat the Spurs, I hope they stay focused in the coming week and, to borrow an old Suns motto, "keep their eyes on the prize." Something tells me they will. This team isn't satisfied just being here; they want to see how far they can go.

    Oh, and I love how Laker fans are already claiming victory in the WCF in 4 or 5 games AFTER a very convincing Suns sweep of the Spurs and BEFORE they have even gotten past the Jazz (an inevitability but still). Based on some classy responses from Spurs fans after this series, I am giving Laker fans the go-ahead for being most obnoxious. I should have known since I lived amongst those savages for 4 years. And those stupid, smug shirts Laker fans have now that read: "Got rings? We do." Gross…c'mon Suns let's keep it going.

  • John (GoSpursGo)

    Hats off to the Suns. Your team is full of classy players like Steve Nash and Grant Hill, and I can’t feel bad about those guys keeping their chance for a title alive. Y’all clearly showed you were the better team as well, both tonight and throughout the whole series. Here’s hoping you guys go all the way :)

  • Mike


  • ILoveTaint

    I think the Suns can give the Lakers a good series

  • Johnnie Light from G

    I have been a Suns fan since they came into the league, even though I grew up in GH Michigan, I was always a fan of Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins and watched them anytime I could on the old ABC broadcasts in the late 60's & early 70's. I moved to Scottsdale in 1985 and have enjoyed watching the franchise produce a exceptional team to pull for year after year (sans a couple of teams in the 80's). For all the heartbreak the Suns franchise has endured in this decade, specifically at the hands of the Spurs, this was a very satisfying series and clinching game. Steve Nash demonstrated why he is a unique talent in this league. He played with amazing heart and sense of purpose that along with Grant Hill led the younger players to a tremendous accomplishment. You could tell the Spurs (Popovich, Duncan, Parker & Ginobli) all have great respect for the Suns, and Nash in particular for all that they have been through. They were very gracious in defeat and I am sure would love to see the Suns put up big numbers and run the Lakers right out of the WCF. The Suns team deserves a lot of credit for playing hard in the face of adversity during the midseason only to grow into one of the most efficient offenses in recent history with spots of exceptional defense as well … something never heard of in the Mike D'Antoni era of "7 seconds or less." Does anyone realize that 6 out of the top 8 offenses in the history of the NBA have one thing in common? ….. STEVE NASH! Go Suns!

  • Terrence

    When Nash caught that elbow I couldn't help but think about the so called "curse". Phoenix is just playing on another level and the Spurs would have lost if Nash had a blindfold on. lol

    Suns fans check out a good blog on the Suns vs. Lakers series

  • PK
  • Jon

    When will the Western Conference Finals begin if the Lakers sweep Utah on Monday? Does that change if Utah wins Game 4 (or 5/6 etc.)?

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  • The Z. Man

    What a fitting finish for our team and its hero. I did not see the second half. So, as to Timmy’s “accidental” elbow to Steve’s face? I missed the play.

    What I did see with my own eyes, sitting directly behind the scorer’s table in game 2 made me nuts. With play taking place near the Suns bench, Timmy walked nonchalantly over to the other side of the court, when all eyes were on the play. Nash was standing away from the play. Timmy “greeted” Nash and his sore hip near the beginning of the game with a MEAN & UGLY purposeful slap/ karate chop near the beginning of the game. This was obviously meant to at least intimidate (if not hurt) Nash. Nash didn’t even flinch because he didn’t want Timmy to know how much that hurt. Pop must have been seething, following an opening game loss. Not wanting Nash to explode for another 17 point opening quarter, a message (or worse) was sent to slow him down. Slow him down it did, but, the slack was picked up by Dudley and Frye. Pop should be banned for life from the game!!!! He is EVIL. What more can we say? Role model for our kids? “Say Junior, if you can’t win the game, hurt the best player on the other team.” Bowen & Horry are gone. Timmy is the new “volunteer” to play Pop’s game. This play went unnoticed because it was so far away from the ball. but directly in front of my very eyes.

    Evil Pop, the CIA spy, should not take any more of our time. Let’s move along to next year. Suns have their best chemistry ever, now that the “Big Deal” is gone. In order to keep that, we MUST KEEP all of our guys. Frye, Louis & Barbosa MUST STAY!!!!

    MUST start and also finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Annasanna

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