Steve Nash’s Importance on Full Display in Return

After missing 24 games, Steve Nash finally returned to the Lakers' lineup last Saturday night and, believe it or not, was better than anticipated.

The Santa Clara product hardly had a huge statistical output with his 12 points and nine assists on 5-for-8 field-goal shooting, but do not let the box score fool you: he was just what the purple and gold needed.

In a contest that the Lakers could have simply mailed in based on a multitude of factors, the team chose to hang in tough and show their mental toughness.

Dwight Howard spent the majority of the contest glued to the bench because of foul trouble, Pau Gasol was less than stellar from the field and even coughed up the ball on a few occasions and Kobe Bryant had one of his worst shooting games on the season by virtue of the sheer amount of shots he put up to get his 34 points.

In addition, the game was called quite tightly by the officials, which hurt the Lakers in some respects as Howard and Bryant combined to finish the contest with a total of 11 fouls.

And yet, despite facing a 13-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers kept their composure and played through all these issues to pull out an exciting game in overtime.

Howard picked up his fifth foul at the start of the fourth quarter. Mike D’Antoni decided to ride his big man and was rewarded for it as he scored a few times and helped his team clean up the backboards.

The Lakers also got some help from Jordan Hill, who he came in and played big with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The bench performer of the night for the Lakers, mind you, was Metta World Peace, and it wasn’t close. He scored in the paint as well as from the perimeter and even hit a killer baseline three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to give the Lakers a two-point lead, which was erased seconds later by a Jarrett Jack jumper off the dribble.


About the Author