Throwback Thursday: One-Eyed Nash Eliminates Spurs
Six years ago, with just under six minutes left in the third quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, the collective fan base of the Phoenix Suns groaned.
Not again. Not again.
Steve Nash was bleeding. He seemed to do that a lot when Phoenix faced San Antonio in the postseason. The most visible precedent was when Nash had his nose gashed open in Game 1 of the 2007 conference semis. He tried to continue playing, only to be kept out by the unyielding river of blood streaming from his face.
The circumstances were slightly different in 2010, with the Suns holding an unusual 3-0 series lead over their postseason nemesis. Yet after Nash's face collided with Tim Duncan's elbow, the image of the two-time MVP dabbing at and finding blood on his face was all too reminiscent of playoff heartbreaks past. Nash left for the locker room with his team leading 64-57.
When he re-entered the game with several stitches and a severely swollen right eye, the Suns' lead was down to one.
The sight of the All-Star point guard weaving, dribbling and shooting was nearly comical due to his attempts to keep his injured eye open. The effort hardly worked, and it had the added effect of making his right eye unusually open.
It didn't matter. He hit a pull-up three-pointer. A contested leaner, plus the foul. Another push-shot in the lane. Two consecutive assists for Amar'e Stoudemire jumpers.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Nash had either scored or assisted on 21 of the Suns' 35 fourth-quarter points. More importantly, Phoenix had finally vanquished the opponent that had repeatedly stood in their way over the previous decade.
"I couldn't see anything [out of my right eye]," Nash admitted afterward.
Turns out, he didn't need to.