Suns Superman Soars with Another MVP Showing

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital

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Nash silences his old team with clutch performance
Suns Superman Soars with Another MVP Showing

By Scott Bordow
East Valley Tribune
May 21, 2005

DALLAS – Question: When did Steve Nash become Superman?

When he did become not only the NBA’s Most Valuable Player but the author one of the greatest postseason performances in league history?

It seemed inconceivable that Nash could top his 27-point, 17-assist masterpiece in Game 3 of this Suns-Mavericks series.

Or his 48-point outburst in Game Four.

Or, of course, his tripledouble (34 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) in Game 5.

But he did.

Nash scored a game-high 39 points, had 12 assists and nine rebounds in Phoenix’s series-clinching 130-126 overtime win over Dallas Friday.

Oh, and he played 50 minutes.

So much for the notion that his body is wearing down. And so much for Mark Cuban’s assertion that the Mavericks were better off without Nash. Think he might have missed the point? And his point guard?

"They had to be crazy to let that boy go," Suns guard Quentin Richardson said. "But we’re very grateful. Thank you, Mr. Cuban."

For Nash, it was a bittersweet ending.

"It’s hard. . . . I played with those guys, the coaches and scouts, everyone in the organization is dear to me. All those people were a big part of my life for six years and you get to know them.

"Everyone congratulated me and was terrific to me throughout the series. It’s difficult to see them have to go home, but it’s very fun for us to continue on to new heights."

A cascade of compliments fell around Nash in the postgame celebration. But here was the most appropriate: He wouldn’t let the Suns lose.

"What he did ranks up there with the greatest performances I’ve ever seen," Jim Jackson said. "He made every big play when we needed it."

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Nash hit a 3-pointer to give the Suns a 106-105 lead with one minute and 11 seconds left in regulation.

He made a layup to cut Dallas’ lead to one point with 14.2 seconds left.

Then, with the Mavericks up by three and American Airlines center in a frenzy, he calmly hit the 3-point shot with 5.7 seconds left that sent the game into overtime.

What a surprise, then, that Nash finished off his night — and the Mavericks — with seven points and two assists in the extra session.

"He showed you who he is," Amaré Stoudemire said. "He’s the MVP of this league."

This was Nash’s bottom line in the series: 30.3 points, 12 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Not bad for, as one columnist called Nash, "a onedimensional point guard."

Yet, after the game, there was Cuban, spitting into the wind, still trying to defend his decision to let Nash go and sign center Erick Dampier instead.

"People want to go Steve this, Steve that. But the reality is, it’s a team," Cuban said. "We win as a team and we lose as a team. We had six years to try it the other way.

"A lot of you guys weren’t even picking us to make the playoffs and here we go out and win 58 games. I would do it all again in a heartbeat because we’ve set a foundation for this team."

That will be a tough sell in Dallas. And it certainly wasn’t selling in Phoenix’s locker room.

All the Suns know is that they have the league’s MVP. And, lately, a modern-day, miniaturized version of Oscar Robertson.

"He’s one of the greatest players ever," center Steven Hunter said. "I don’t know what Dallas was thinking."

COPYRIGHT 2005, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.