Archives For Steve Nash

On Monday, we wondered aloud about the consequences of losing Ricky Rubio for the season. We suggested that Rubio’s defensive skills–his “ability to create turnovers, disrupt the pick-and-roll game and conjure frenzied defensive energy”–might be even more keenly missed than his mystic passing. And, gracious, did that ever prove to be the case against the Suns.

Since the great Garnett-Stoudemire clashes of the mid-aughts, the Suns have had a knack for drawing the Wolves’ defense into a state of shambolic chaos. In those days, the looming nightmare was the choice between stopping Stoudemire’s rim assaults and staying home on Phoenix’s shooters. On Monday night, Suns’ big men Robin Lopez, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris attempted only 19 shots between the three of them. But this had less to do with any concerted effort on the Wolves’ part and more to do with the fact that their perimeter defense was so unmercifully rotten that the Suns’ guards had little reason to ever dump the ball inside.

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Because he has set the gold standard for point guards over the past decade and because people are enthralled, to an embarrassing degree, with appearances, nearly every white, assist-happy point guard to emerge into the league in recent years has been compared with Steve Nash. (Every time Luke Ridnour did anything last night, Suns’ announcer Eddie Johnson would remind us that coming out of college Ridnour was considered “by everybody,” to be “the next Steve Nash,” which can’t possibly true. Is that true?) But this has been particularly true in the case of Ricky Rubio, who not only seems like Nash’s heir as The League’s Most Visionary Passer but also shares with Nash a certain flouncy-haired, European, soccer-playing panache and a preternatural feel (probably also soccer-related) for the games’ overarching organizing principles.

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Of course it is ridiculously unfair that the Timberwolves were playing their third game in three nights while the Suns had been reading romance novels and drinking margaritas by the pool (probably) for the past week.  But such is the absurdity of this lockout-contaminated NBA schedule. What you cannot control you must accept: good people get sick; the world rewards the ruthless and craven. Think about it like that and playing lots of basketball suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

Basketball playing humans have an extraordinary capacity to focus their mental energies and play through fatigue, and on this score the Wolves played pretty admirably. But all the grit and willpower in the world won’t make your jumper fall when your legs turn to jelly. The Wolves’ shooting is mercurial under the best of circumstances; on a night like tonight, it didn’t really seem like the ball had a prayer of going in the basket.

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photo by shortwaverockin

Be honest. You weren’t watching the first quarter. Not when the Knicks and Celitcs were deeply engaged in what has been the game of this young season. Who could turn their attention elsewhere while Amar’e Stoudemire bounded and astounded his way through, around and over our beloved K.G.?

Sorry, not this guy. That’s what DVR’s are for.

With minutes left in lower Manhattan’s celebration of their not so triumphant return to relevancy, the Garden faithful erupted into that ubiquitous three syllable chant every athlete longs to hear. Surprisingly enough, he actually deserved it.

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