Steve Nash has experienced a whole lot of agony during his career. Honestly, it’s become an annual passage of spring that he has his heart torn from his body in breathtaking fashion. There was the Tim Duncan three-pointer, the Robert Horry clothesline, and now the Ron Artest miracle putback. Is there any way Nash HASN’T lost in his postseason career?
Yet he continues to chug along — battered nose, bruised eye and all. And, despite all the devastating losses, Nash’s confidence remains intact. (Arizona Republic)
“They held home court,” Nash said after Game 5′s agonizing loss Thursday. “We’ll go back and do the same, and we’ll come back here (Staples Center) for Game 7.”
Joe Namath did not draw much pregame notice for his 1969 Super Bowl guarantee, but Nash, far from sounding like Muhammad Ali boasting or looking like Babe Ruth pointing, has the attention of his teammates.
“We can’t make him look bad,” Suns forward Grant Hill said.
The Lakers have not lost a best-of-seven playoff series after they have taken a 3-2 lead with a Game 5 win since Namath’s guarantee year. What is feeding Nash’s confidence is the progress the Suns made with each game this series. They lost Game 1 in a blowout but lost Game 2 after taking a tie to the fourth quarter on the road, won Games 3 and 4 with improvements and played their best defense of the series in Game 5.
“I stand by what I said,” Nash said Friday. “I didn’t say guarantee, but I have no problem with that.
“It’s a belief. I believe we’re going to come home and win and go back and play Game 7 over there.”
I’m so torn about who I want the Celtics to play in the Finals. On the one hand, there’s the possibility of a rematch with the Lakers. The Celtics still think they should be the two-time defending champions and would be if Garnett hadn’t gotten injured. Then there’s that whole Celtics-Lakers rivalry thing — it’s a pretty big deal when the two teams play each other. It’d be nice for the C’s to prove that last year was a fluke and beat their most hated rivals, all at the same time.
On the other hand, I adore Steve Nash. Not in a sick way or anything, but he plays basketball the right way and always has. He’s willing to sacrifice his body to win games and is as unselfish a player as they come. If you don’t want Steve Nash to win a title by the end of his career, you’re either heartless or dumb. How can I root against Nash and for the Lakers? It’s not only counter-intuitive, it’s sacrilegious.
On top of my unconditional love of Nash, I’m even more confused because the Suns aren’t as good as the Lakers. Playing the Suns would undoubtedly be an easier series. While the Celtics and Lakers match up pretty evenly, I don’t think a single player on the Suns team can guard anyone on the Celtics. Just look at the matchups, please. The Suns have nobody, nobody, to match up with the Big Four. The Suns couldn’t possibly stop the Celtics, and the Celtics are good enough defensively to at least slow down the Suns. I could not see the Suns possibly defeating the Celtics under any scenario, but I could see the Lakers beating the Celtics.
So who do I root for — the team I think the Celtics would have an easier time with, or the team I’d rather see them beat? The team I love or the team I loathe?
At the end of the day, I guess I don’t really care who the Celtics play. Waiting on the Celtics’ Finals opponent — no matter who it will be — is never a bad thing.