Nash’s Double-Double Downs Warriors
Posted: Feb. 10, 2011
On the same day the Jerry Sloan era ended in Utah, Steve Nash’s continued to roll in Phoenix.
The two-time NBA MVP led the Suns with a game-high 18 points and 11 assists in Thursday’s 112-88 win over the Warriors – their 11th straight at home over Golden State.
Going 6-of-10 from the field in 27 minutes, Nash accounted for three of the Suns’ 12 three-pointers on the night.
One game removed from becoming the 11th player in NBA history (and the second Sun) to record 6,000 assists with a single team, Nash also reclaimed his lead on the league’s all-time free-throw percentage list with a 3-for-3 showing from the line.
“We need to take care of business in every game from now on,” Nash said. “It was important for us to get a good start tonight and not give them confidence coming off a back-to-back.”
The Suns entered the game allowing just 43-percent shooting in their last 10 games before limiting Golden State to 40 percent. Phoenix’s fourth win in its last five games returned them to the .500 mark for the first time since December 19 as they enter Friday’s game in Utah.
“Our defense has been pretty good the last few weeks,” Nash said. “It gives us the chance to take the pressure off our offense to rack up points, so we’re improving in that area.”
FRYE ON DUDLEY’S DUNK
“I had to check outside to see if pigs were flying,” Channing Frye said about teammate Jared Dudley’s first-half dunk.
SLOAN OUT IN UTAH
Hours before jumping on the team charter to Utah for Friday’s game against the Jazz, the Suns were surprised by Jerry Sloan’s decision to step down as head coach after 23 years.
The last time the Suns franchise had faced a non-Sloan-run Jazz club, Tom Chambers and Kevin Johnson were in their first full seasons in Phoenix, Steve Nash and Grant Hill were high school students, Robin Lopez was seven months old and Alvin Gentry had just won an NCAA title as an assistant at the University of Kansas.
In other words, it was Nov. 19, 1988.
“You’re talking about a quarter-of-a-century staple in this league with Jerry,” Gentry said. “He had the longest coaching tenure in all of pro sports. That speaks volumes. He’ll go down as one of the greatest head coaches ever in this league.”
Former Suns forward and Jazz assistant coach Tyrone Corbin was officially named Sloan’s successor at a press conference earlier in the day.
“Ty’s paid his dues and been there so long, it’ll be an easy transition,” Gentry added. “He won’t be anybody but himself, so he’ll be fine.”
AMUNDSON’S RETURN (SORT OF)
Former Suns forward Lou Amundson made his way back to his old stomping grounds Thursday, but back spasms made him a lineup scratch for Golden State.
“He’s energy from the time he walks into a building,” Warriors Head Coach Keith Smart said. “A coach always asks, ‘What can I count on every night from you as a player?’ Monta Ellis… 20 points. David Lee… 12 rebounds. Lou… it’s high energy and effort every night. That’s what coaches want.”
NO, REALLY, WHO IS THIS?
Before Wednesday’s practice, the entire Suns squad was busy working the proverbial phones to personally contact a certain section of their fanbase.
“We were trying to get season ticket holders to renew their season tickets for next season,” said Jared Dudley. “They brought us big guns in to try and lock it down. I got 90-percent voice mails, but it’s all about wins and production. The more of those we get, the more people will come back.”
Deviating from a prepared script, Dudley and Co. went old-school improv for a more human touch and surprisingly didn’t get a lot of non-believers when it came to convincing fans who they were.
“They knew we wanted them to renew,” Dudley added, “so they knew we were who we said we were.”
And as for some of the impromptu back-and-forth discussions…
“I missed a lay-up the last game, so they did remind me of that,” he laughed.
NEW HALL OF FAMER
Not even a new Hall of Fame honor can interfere with Al McCoy’s commitment to the Suns.
The legendary broadcaster will miss his induction into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame this weekend, as the Suns host the Kings at 6 p.m. this Sunday. In honor of his talent and commitment to the media industry, a special induction ceremony will be held for McCoy during the second timeout of this Tuesday’s Suns-Jazz game. He joins fellow inductees including Dick Van Dyke, Tanya Tucker and Lee Hazlewood.
The Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame recognizes and honors exceptional people from all areas of media, music and fine arts in Arizona. Hall of Fame members are those whose creative talents and insight have entertained and influenced not only those living in the state, but across the nation and around the world.