[Steve Nash lures John Wall with a back dribble, then changes pace to attack the open lane while keeping the ball away from JaVale McGee with two hands before sliding in for a layup.]
This Wizards team is hard to dissect, and I don’t mean “take apart,” as Steve Nash did on Sunday evening on his way to captaining his Suns to a 125-108 victory.
The Wizards are hard to dissect in the sense of separating individual parts to determine why the team continues to lose in the worst of ways (and win by the skin of their teeth). Anything and everything could go wrong on a given night.
On offense, in general, the team wastes too many possessions with bad shots. Pretty simple to conclude that they could use a lot more discipline in this regard. On defense, it comes down to focus and will, something several Wizards have major issues with. When you combine the overall effect that has on the team with the stylings of the two-time MVP in Nash, you have a recipe for the Suns to have their way with the Wizards.
Nash was often seen casually strolling through the paint, slicing through defenders as shown in the above GIF on Sunday night. But really, there was nothing casual about it. Well, unless you’re talking about the Wizards’ defense.
Nash could perform surgery blindfolded against Washington. He’s calculating, he’s precise. One can’t help but wonder which one will come first, Nash’s retirement or Ted Leonsis changing the name of the team, because something’s gotta give. Let’s turn to the Elias Sports Bureau for support:
Steve Nash’s average of 13.4 assists per game versus the Wizards since returning to the Suns in 2004-05 is his highest against any opponent.
Nash came out on top in what was an exciting duel between he and John Wall for a brief spell. The Canadian finished with 17 assists to 2 turnovers and shot 8-8 from the field, netting 20 points. Wall had a decent 12 assists to 4 turnovers, but 10 of those dimes came in the first half when it still was a game, not in the second half that sealed the deal. Wall succumbed to the man whose skills academy he once attended with just 12 points on 4-12 shooting and 3-4 from the free-throw line.
The most telling sign of Nash’s effect on the game came midway though the fourth quarter. Nash went to the bench with 1:13 left in the third, his Suns holding a comfortable 16 point lead. The Suns would push that lead to 21 with 9:23 left in the game thanks to a Jared Dudley trey ball. Then the Wizards found a little moxie and energy (thanks to some beastliness from Trevor Booker), went on a 14-5 run and cut Phoenix’s lead to 12 with 5:13 left.
Maybe the sense of hope for the Wizards at the point wasn’t necessarily false, but unfortunately for Flip Saunders’ bunch, this isn’t like soccer when a player can’t be subbed back in. Nash returned and the Suns promptly went on a 11-3 run over the span of 88 seconds, Nash tallying three assists in the process. Nick Young hit an inconsequential layup with three minutes left before Nash sat down at the 2:42 mark with Phoenix up 18.
The game was put gently to bed by Nash, who served as a playpen mobile all night, dazzling the Wiz Kids with flicks of his one-handed bounce passes and alley-oops galore. The Wizards now take their 0-10 start on the road to play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Get ready for more lessons.