The Lakers point guard has added a sense of stability since his return from injury.
By JOE McDONNELLFS West
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - When the story is written on the
Lakers' 2012-2013 season, the final chapter will likely be titled “BSN-ASN” as in “Before Steve Nash-After Steve Nash.”
Prior to the point guard’s successful return Saturday night against Golden State, the Lakers were spinning out of control, seemingly unable to put together minutes of consistency, let alone entire games. Their record was 12-14 and a team with one of the most talented rosters in Lakers history was being smothered by its own ineptness.
Then Nash showed up against the Warriors and the Lakers were able to negotiate through the usual self-imposed obstacles and come back for one of their few impressive wins so far, 118-115 in overtime. Playing for the first time in nearly two months, Nash went 41 minutes, scoring 12 points and handing out nine assists. Most importantly, his calm under pressure allowed the Lakers to overcome an 88-74 deficit early in the fourth quarter.
Kobe Bryant said after Monday’s practice that it was what he expected from Nash, and what Lakers fans will continue to see as long as “Gatsby” stays healthy.
“He’s a great organizer, a great passer and a great shooter,” Bryant said of Nash, who came out of the game with no setbacks and will start against the Knicks at Staples Center on Tuesday. “He does everything well, and obviously it’s a big boost.”
As great as Nash can be on the floor and acting like the basketball maestro that he is, he’ll be equally valuable as a leader who’s not hesitant to challenge his teammates.
“We need to put ourselves back in contention right now,” Nash said of his 13-14 team as they readied to take on the 20-7 Knicks. “We should be a desperate team right now. I think we know what position we’re in right now — we can’t go out and drop any games. We have to go for every single win, instead of trying to adjust and figure out what we’re doing.
“We’re just trying to build a team and trying to build some spirit. We know we have a chance to win and we have to go out and earn it every night. We had a lot of time this year when we’ve been in transition. It’s caught us thinking (too much) or maybe not believing — paralysis by analysis. So, we have to get out there, put some juice in our legs, go out and have some fun and win some games.”