Nash's 'Old White Guy' Shot Leads Suns Past Clippers
But Steve Nash made sure that his Suns left with the victory, by scoring 15 of his team's 24 fourth quarter points, including the game-winner in a thrilling 109-107 contest at Staples Center.
The shot that Nash hit to win it came on a tough drive against Baron Davis, who was tightly guarding Nash behind the three-point line, with the game tied and 11.9 seconds left on the clock. Nash made a stop-and-go move, but with Davis all over him, he had no choice but to take the ball to the rack, and finish beautifully with his left hand to carry his team to a 1-0 start on the season.
"Well, I went to the old 'white guy in the YMCA' shot," Nash said. "And I was lucky to make something happen."
Nash took the shot earlier than he wanted to, and actually left the Clippers plenty of time -- 5.5 seconds -- to tie or win the game with a shot of their own. But he and Alvin Gentry talked about it in the timeout before the play, and both understood that it might be necessary to take the shot early if the opportunity were to arise.
"Nash said 'if I get by him initially, I might have to go early, because if I back it up and he gets into me, it would be hard for me to get by him a second time,' " Gentry said. "So he said 'I might have to shoot it early, and if I get by him, I have to go.' "
Talk about a veteran player and an experienced coach knowing the situation -- that's almost exactly how things played out.
"Baron was playing me so tight, and I wanted to take the last shot, but he was playing me too tight, and once I got a little step on him, I had to take it," Nash said. "It was a little early, but when I got to the paint I kept going when I saw a little daylight."
As far as winning the game with a left-handed shot, Nash admitted it's something he hasn't done or even thought about in quite some time.
"It's been a while, you know, I don't play much basketball in the summer, so the left has been a little dormant," Nash said. "I made a few with the right earlier in the game and in the preseason, but luckily it woke up for me."
The Clippers did have a final crack at it, but a long three-point attempt from Eric Gordon wasn't close -- thanks to Amar'e Stoudemire stepping out to contest -- and the Suns came away with the win. And since Phoenix isn't a team that's exactly known for their defense, you can bet the part about the game ending with them holding defensively didn't go unnoticed by their head coach.
"Nobody's talking about it, but we won the game with a defensive stop, okay?" Gentry said. "That, in itself right there, is progress."