By Kevin Arnovitz
It's been ages since the Phoenix Suns entered the NBA season as anything other than a lock for the playoffs. Heading into the 2009-10 season, though, the Suns have been roundly appraised as a bubble team. There's uncertainty surrounding Amare Stoudemire's health and resolve, while the veterans look a little long in the tooth. A more abstract criticism of the Suns says that the team lacks an identity. Are the 2009-10 Suns a restoration of "Seven Seconds or Less" ball, or will their collective age keep them grounded?
A week into the season, the answer for the 3-0 Suns is all of the above.
Sunday night in their win over Minnesota, it was the old run-and-gun and beyond the arc attack (and yes, you read that box score correctly. Channing Frye recorded six 3-pointers).
But on Wednesday night at Los Angeles, the Suns didn't record a single fast break point until midway through the fourth quarter, yet they were able to surge past a Clippers team they were trailing most of the game. Who was the Suns' half-court scoring catalyst?
None other than Steve Nash.
He scored 15 points in the 4th quarter, destroying the Clips off the dribble, executing the pick-and-roll to perfection and capping off the night with what he called "the old white guy at the YMCA shot."
Here's a look at how he did it:
Since the Suns' opener against the Clippers, Nash has assumed his more traditional role as distributor. He's chalked up 34 assists over his last two games, including a 20-dime effort against Golden State Friday night.
We'll know a lot more about Phoenix once they get home from a brutal 5-game road trip that includes visits to Orlando and Boston. If Nash can pace them with anything close to his output over the season's opening week, they might just claw their way back to Western Conference relevancy.