Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Steve Nash makes his return to the desert as the Lakers begin their seven game road trip in Phoenix. Where the summer journey began for Los Angeles.
7:30 pm PST
Home is where the heart is.
For years, Steve Nash was the pulse of the Phoenix Suns. Each dime he dropped was a beat of the heart, each spectacular play a surge of adrenaline through the veins of a fan base that loved their leader. The Suns, though, were en route to begin a fall from grace, and are now far removed from the Seven Seconds or Less "glory days" of Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash. Now, both men make a return to Phoenix together as a part of the Lakers franchise; a statement that would have induced maniacal laughter years ago.
If only Blake Griffin let us use his Kia Optima to go back in time.
The Lakers begin a crucial 7 game road trip with a game against the team where this wild adventure began. When the Lakers acquired Steve Nash for invisible money and draft picks it was the first indication that the purple and gold would be a very different team once the 2012-2013 season began. Unfortunately, they certainly look different, just not quite how we pictured it. Nevertheless, the Lakers continue their march onward and upward, and will need to continue playing with the fluidity we've seen from them as of late. Kobe's 39 assists have turned into 3 straight wins and the question is beginning to morph from "can he keep up this double digit assist shenanigans" to "how many more times in a row will we see the Kobe Passing Machine"?
In the Hornets, the Lakers put away a team they "should" have, and the scenario rings true with Phoenix as well. The Suns are 15-30 on the season and recently sent Alvin Gentry packing. Both offensively and defensively they are below average. They shoot the deep ball at the second lowest clip in the league at 33.2%. The Michael Beasley signing has been an abomination, as he's taking 10.2 field goals a game and shooting 39.3% from the field. In the month of January the Suns have won only 3 games. There's plenty of stats backing up why the Lakers should go into Phoenix and take care of business, but as we saw last night, the Lakers are still far from consistent and need to keep the door shut on teams once they build 15+ point leads.
So how will the Suns fans react to Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni stepping foot into U.S. Airways Center? Post-game Kobe Bryant said he expects his teammate will be received with a standing ovation. Nash, meanwhile, reiterated an important piece to how the Lakers landed the point guard in the first place. Being in Los Angeles and playing for the Lakers kept him as close as possible to his children. Home is where the heart is, after all, and at the age of 38 things change. Purple, white, and orange allegiance while trying to fight through the playoffs all those years for Nash finally came to a tipping point as his contract expired. While the Knicks and Raptors attempted to land the point guard neither gave him the chance the Lakers could. A chance to be close to home.
Did the Lakers simply luck out? Maybe. So far it hasn't paid off in the way the front office envisioned, but with the Lakers making forward progress perhaps for the first time this season, the jury is still in deliberation. Win the games you're supposed to, this is a long road trip, and for a team that needs to go something in the realm of 5-2 starting it off with a loss is unacceptable.
On This Soundtrack
Ozzy Osborne - Mama I'm Coming Home
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Plot Twist: Weigh in on what happens tonight
Steve Nash has 15 points and 10 assists in his return "home" (10 votes)
Marcin Gortat pulls down more rebounds than Dwight Howard (4 votes)
Kobe Bryant continues his 10+ assist streak. (57 votes)
Goran Dragic has more assists than Steve Nash. (11 votes)
Steve Nash is received with a standing ovation. (43 votes)
125 total votes