Steve Nash: Uneven Preseason Debut a Lot Better Than End of the Line

LOS ANGELES — By all accounts, the Lakers a year ago appeared to have a championship future.

Now they’re the place for case studies in basketball mortality.

Test subject No. 10’s data hasn’t gotten quite the attention as test subject No. 24’s, and that’s fair enough: Steve Nash was out there on the Staples Center court Sunday night while Kobe Bryant was still off working that graveyard shift, away in Germany to perk up his right knee while not yet having emerged from the darkness of that left Achilles tear.

But the hypothesis that Nash still has game to give after being in so much pain and missing so many games last season hasn’t been proved either.

Nash played in his first exhibition game Sunday night and wasn’t nearly all there, putting up a Derek Fisher-like scoreless stat line in a mostly uneven outing—a few of the fancy old Nash passes notwithstanding.

Nash’s best plays—besides that lefty, behind-the-back flip for Steve Blake’s three-pointer—were two beautiful embellishments to sell the illegal contact from Denver’s screening big men.

On two awkward turnovers committed against the double-teams he has so lickety-split the past decade and a half, Nash argued to veteran referee Bill Spooner that Denver’s defenders pushed him off balance. Nash got away with a fistful of Ty Lawson’s jersey at the other end on one no-call too.

After Nash left the game in the third quarter, he passed the Lakers bench and headed straight into the locker room. He never did rejoin his teammates on the court. Instead, he went searching for ice and found the cold tub that he dedicated himself to long before Bryant began posting his Twitter photos braving ice baths.

You’d think Nash would be the sort to stick with his guys on the bench. Yet even if you are renowned as the greatest te...

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