Suns News

Nash’s Near-Triple-Double Propels Suns to First Win of 2011

The Suns got their first win of 2011, thanks to Steve Nash's near-triple-double Sunday.
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
By Josh Greene, Suns.com
Posted: Jan. 9, 2011

Steve Nash parlayed an 11-assist, five-point and two-rebound first half into a near-triple-double en route to the Suns' first win of the year with Sunday’s 108-100 win over the Cavs.

The All-Star guard eventually racked up 20 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds to help Phoenix snap a four-game losing streak to Cleveland, as well as put the Suns over the 100-point plateau for the first time in five games.

“I think it was one of those games where we just had to find a way to win,” Nash said. “Now we can move on and try to learn something from it. We’re struggling. We’re not only struggling, we’re not playing up to our capabilities. We just have to develop some rhythm and some confidence, and sometimes you just have to fight through and win these games.”

Falling three assists short of becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in 20-assist games (8) and joining Magic Johnson, John Stockton and Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history with a 20-assist game in six different seasons, he is averaging double-digit assists for the sixth time in his career – all six of which have come over the age of 30. The floor general also continues to lead all NBA guards with 19 double-doubles.

Personal numbers aside, Nash was understandably relieved to see his club snap a three-game losing streak that stretched back to the start of January. Still, the Suns playmaker sees plenty of room for improvement heading into Tuesday’s road game in Denver.

“We just needed to find a way to win a game,” Nash said. “It was hard for us. I don’t know if we played our best. We played hard, we found a way to scrap and win and sometimes that’s what you got to do. I think our team, at times, was not confident. We dropped our heads, and tonight we just fought through it.”

“Z” RETURN

In uniform Sunday was rookie Zabain Dowdell, who signed with the club earlier in the day.

The guard spent a portion of training camp with Phoenix before signing with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA D-League where he averaged 14.5 ppg, 4.6 apg and 2.1 rpg in 29.3 minutes.

“Zabian came that close to making our team in camp,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry told Suns.com. “He’s really worked on his game. He’s improved his shooting from camp. He’s always had a toughness about him, bordering on almost being in the league. He’s done a good enough job that we’d like to see him in practices and see how he does.”

15 TO GO

It looks like 16,000 career points will to wait for Grant Hill.

The veteran forward exited Sunday’s game at 7:53 of the first quarter after a mild knee sprain. He had two points and three rebounds vs. Cleveland, and was looking to become just the 14th active player to reach 16,000 career points and join teammates Vince Carter and Steve Nash as one of two teams with at least three players posting 15,000-or-more points (Celtics: Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce). Hill would be the 95th player to reach the exclusive mark.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GO!

It was another year and another birthday cake for the Suns’ official mascot.

During a first quarter timeout, the Suns Gorilla was greeted at center court by fellow mascots from the Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Arizona Lottery, Grand Canyon University and Phoenix Mercury.