Tag Archives: Steve Nash

Rondo the key as the NBA Finals finally get underway Thursday

Rondo presents a host of matchup problems for the favored Lakers. (Pic via Zimbio.com)

The 2010 NBA Finals are finally here.  Let’s hope the Celtics and Lakers engage in a hard-fought, well-played series that produces compelling subplots.  Anything to overshadow the increasingly annoying NBA free agent speculation.

The Lakers are the prohibitive favorites thanks to a spry Kobe Bryant, an assertive Pau Gasol, and a cast of capable role players.  But the Celtics are peaking at the right time, thanks to a surprising bench and balanced scoring.

Make no mistake, the Celtics have a chance to win the NBA championship if Rajon Rondo is able to his thing.

Rondo’s unique game presents a host of problems for the Lakers.  Unlike Steve Nash, who is much more comfortable shooting jumpers off the pick and roll, Rondo seeks the paint and doesn’t stop until he gets near the basket.

Rondo struggles against bigger guards, but has his way against players his size.  Derek Fisher has physicality, but lacks the quickness to stay with Rondo.  Fisher’s efforts on the defensive end are admirable, but not overly effective, regardless of what the analysts say.

Ron Artest matches up perfectly with Paul Pierce, who isn’t quick enough or big enough to be able to work comfortably against the Lakers.  Ray Allen will most likely be shadowed by Kobe Bryant.  Kevin Garnett looked done by the end of the Orlando series and will face a huge challenge against Pau Gasol.

The pressure is on Rondo to control the game from start to finish.

Rondo tends to play at his best when the stakes are high.  He is capable of baffling opponents and quietly producing triple-double.  His big fingerprints needs to be all over the game for the Celtics to have a chance.

Much more NBA finals coverage coming throughout the night here on ToTheTin.

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Flashback: Kobe drops 40, Lakers hang 128 on horrible Suns defense

Gasol and Odom dominated the paint in Game 1, and Kobe did the rest. (Pic via NBAE/Getty Images)

Game 1 of the Western Conference finals stirred memories of vintage Kobe Bryant and the historically soft Suns defense, as the Lakers cruised a 128-107 win.

Kobe looked energized, exploding to the basket and elevating on his jumpers.  He connected on 12-of-23 shots from the floor, including 3-of-6 from downtown.

But the real difference in Game 1 was in the paint.

Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol combined for 40 points and 23 rebounds.  Odom was very aggressive all night and played with unusual physicality.

The much-improved Suns defense looked overwhelmed against the bigger Lakers.  Robin Lopez looked good in his first game since late March, but Amare Stoudemire got abused by Pau Gasol all night long.

Stoudemire finished with 23 points and just three rebounds.  Steve Nash finished with 13 points and 13 assists in limited minutes.

Kobe had to work against Grant Hill, but exploded for most of his 21 points after Hill went to the bench with his fifth foul in the third quarter.

Leading by 14 going into the fourth quarter, Phil Jackson left his starters in while Alvin Gentry rested Nash and Stoudemire.  The lead quickly ballooned to 20 and that was that.

The Kobe-Hill matchup should be interesting to watch as this series continues.  Jared Dudley is much too slow to stay with Kobe, and Jason Richardson is too small.  It’s Hill or nothing for the Suns.

Postgame audio and Shannon Brown missed dunk coming in a bit.

Odom’s aggressiveness helps Lakers lead at the half

Odom has made his presence known with a 15 point outburst to help the Lakers to a 62-55 lead at the break. (Pic via atthebox.wordpress.com)

Lamar Odom has provided glimpses of greatness throughout his inconsistent NBA career.  Odom came to play against the Suns Monday, scoring 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds off the bench.  The Lakers outscored the Suns by 12 with him on the court and lead by seven at halftime of Game 1.

Kobe came out aggressive and looks quick after his extended layoff.  He scored 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting in the first half while being defended mostly by Grant Hill.  The Suns are making Kobe work, so it will be interesting to see if he tires late in the game.

Amare Stoudemire leads the Suns with 15 points.  Steve Nash has been quiet, posting six and six in the first half.

Here are some additional observations:

-Jason Richardson hit two 3-pointers early but was quiet for most of the half.  Leandro Barbosa played very well in Richardson’s place, scoring five points in 10 minutes of action.  He could get more run in the second half if J-Rich doesn’t contribute early.

-Kobe looks great.  He is wearing a sleeve over his troublesome right knee.  Having missed a week of practice, it will be interesting to see if he holds up

-Channing Frye had no impact in the first half, at least not positive one.  The Lakers did a good job of running him off the 3-point line and took advantage of his skinny frame by going inside.

-Ron Artest is shooting the ball well.  He isn’t quick and looked uncomfortable in the post against Jason Richardson, but he is very active defensively.  Nine points, four rebounds and three assists is a pretty impressive line.

-Why are Ron Ron’s shorts so damn short?  He prefers shorter shorts than most NBA players, but his Game 1 look is pretty astounding.  He is a big dude–a big, scary, clinically insane dude.

-The Lakers are playing the Suns pick and roll very effectively, so much so that Phoenix went away from it late in the first half.  If Nash and Richardson hit some shots early in the second half, things should open up.

-Bench play has been fairly even so far, thanks primarily to Lamar Odom.  Goran Dragic can really ball; he isn’t afraid of the moment and has a huge advantage against Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown.

-Sasha Vujacic saw a few minutes and did nothing good, fouling Grant Hill on a 3-point attempt at the end of the first half.  Adam Morrison is not in uniform–sadly.

-Andrew Bynum had an impressive dunk early in the game but is clearly laboring.  Meanwhile, Robin Lopez scored eight points in the first half in his first game since late March.  His presence is huge for the Suns.

It should be a great second half.  We’ll have analysis, video, and sound after the game.

Stay tuned.

Suns can’t take advantage of Blazers’ mistakes, lose Game 1

Portland outlasted Phoenix 105-100 despite doing everything possible to lose in the final minute. Marcus Camby’s missed dunk stood out, but the Blazers also missed a handful of free throws and didn’t rotate well defensively. The Suns missed several open shots in the closing minute, including Steve Nash’s long 3 that would have tied the game with nine seconds remaining.

Andre Miller was dominant, scoring 31 points and dishing out eight assists. The Suns don’t have anyone who can, or at least wants to, prevent Miller from getting to the basket. Despite several missed free throws late, Jerryd Bayless played a huge roll in the Blazers win. Bayless scored 18 points while being defended primarily by Steve Nash.

Nicolas Batum had a number of big buckets and finished with 18 points. Camby collected 17 rebounds for the Blazers, who dominated the glass.

I’m still trying to figure out why Jared Dudley was on the floor late in the game instead of Barbosa. Dudley is a good 3-point shooter but had only one basket in the game–and missed a wide-open look from the corner with 45 seconds remaining.

This could be the best First-Round matchup in the playoffs. Game 2 is Tuesday in Phoenix.

STAT staying put in Phoenix

Deja Vu: The Suns again failed to move Stoudemire prior to the NBA trade deadline. (Pic via NBAE via Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns just can’t get rid of Amare Stoudemire.  All signs point to any deal for Amare being dead, primarily because nobody really wants him badly enough to make a decent offer.

Stoudemire appeared headed to Cleveland earlier this week, but the Cavs made a much more sensible deal, landing Antawn Jamison instead.  The domino effect of the Jamison deal suddenly narrowed the takers to the Miami Heat, who were offering Udonis Haslem, Dorrell Wright, and next to nothing for Stoudemire.  No deal.

It will be interesting see what Amare does next.  He has said he will consider picking up his player option for next season to avoid competing against the likes of LeBron and Wade and Bosh.

Sadly for the Suns, Amare no longer has any incentive to play hard and will instead likely continue adding to his legacy of being the biggest waste of talent since Vince Carter.  His pathetic pick n’ roll defense has landed him on the bench in fourth quarters.  Much of his early success came at the hands of Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash, creating inflated numbers, a big contract, and a huge ego.

Steve Kerr could really use a cold one right about now.

Nash likely to finish career in Phoenix after signing extension

Nash will be in Phoenix through the 2011-2012 season. (Getty Images)

Nash will be in Phoenix through the 2011-2012 season. (Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns are in the process of overhauling an aging roster. Apparently, there is still room for 35 year-old Steve Nash.

The Suns signed Nash to a two-year, $22 million extension that will keep him in Phoenix through the 2011-2012 season. The deal includes six million in deferred payments over the two years following the expiration of the contract, creating more cap room for the cash-strapped Suns.

Nash was slated to become a free agent following next season and presumably would have looked to sign with a contending team. His decision to take the money makes sense, especially considering next year’s bumper crop of free agents. Phoenix was willing to overpay for Nash in an effort to keep fans in the seats while it continues to rebuild.

Nash and Grant Hill will be the elder statesman of the Suns next season. Phoenix has a handful of terrible young players, and would love to acquire quality young players (Anthony Randolph) for Amar’e Stoudemire. Look for the trade talk to heat up again next season.

The extension allows what has been a perfect marriage between Nash and the Suns to continue. Nash would have had to compete for minutes if he chose to play elsewhere, and the Suns would have been scrambling to find a quality young point guard – Goran Dragic just isn’t the answer.

Remember when the Suns were on the cusp of the NBA Finals? How quickly things have changed in Phoenix.

This is Steve Nash on the Late Show with David Letterman

Steve Nash appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman last night and filed a report from the NBA Finals. I thought Nash might have a few more interviews, but the ones he got were pretty funny. I especially enjoyed Jeff Van Gundy’s reaction when Nash him if Stan Van Gundy got laid in high school and the really depressed guy wearing a basketball hoop on his head.

Nash ended the interview by saying he would love to play for the Knicks. We’ll see if that happens in 2010.