2010 NBA Playoffs: Nash and Bryant Put On a Show In Game Five

Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant played a head-to-head game of “Top This” on Thursday night.


The two MVPs dueled like, well, two MVPs. Their spectacular individual performances applied some added umph to an already compelling Western Conference finals. We aren’t as accustomed to the superstar vs. superstar, bucket for bucket showdowns in the current NBA climate. The Johnson-Bird, Russell-Chamberlain type of rivalries rarely surface at a time where opponents spark friendships off the court.


That’s why it was such a pleasure to watch two leaders take over in the closing minutes of Game 5.


Bryant put on a shooting clinic with his vast array of turnarounds, deep threes, and contested floaters in the lane. Even his misses saved the day. Kobe’s quickly launched heave in the closing three seconds, which Ron Artest cleaned up for a game winning put back, will likely go down as the greatest airball in Lakers history.


Nash, like he always does, orchestrated quality possession after quality possession when the Suns desperately needed points. Alvin Gentry, whose made all the right moves since Game 2, stuck with Phoenix’s bread and butter.


Nash and Stoudemire worked the two-man game to perfection in the last four minutes, slicing into L.A.’s lead before teammate Jason Richardson almost tore the backboard down with his banked home three. Nash consistently buried 15 footers as the Lakers all shot quizzical looks at each other on defense.


Phoenix didn’t settle for contested shots down the stretch. Nash ran the offense properly. His court vision never takes a night off. It seems the point guard can do no wrong with the ball in his hands. He made passes, like the wrap around to Stoudemire that lead to a shot clock beating baby jumper, no other basketball pl...

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