Maybe Steve Nash has a little more left in the tank
LOS ANGELES — The night became one big countdown. And the focal point was Steve Nash.
A countdown to the end of his season and, maybe career. In the process, a countdown to him potentially reaching another milestone in his illustrious career.
With 6:40 left in the Lakers’ 107-95 loss to Dallas at Staples Center Friday night, Nash took a seat on the Lakers bench and you got the sense that it just wasn’t going to happen. Not tonight. Not this season.
Nash never returned to the game and it appeared that’s the way he would spend his final moments as an active player during the 2013-14 season after announcing earlier in the day that Friday night would "probably" be his last game of the season.
Or, at least that was the belief.
"I think you’ll see him again, I think he’ll play some more," Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said following the loss. "We talked about it a little bit. Why not?
Nash made an early departure out of the Lakers locker room and did not speak to the media.
The Lakers point guard entered the game 12 assists shy of surpassing Mark Jackson for third on the NBA’s all-time assists list.
Nash finished with seven assists to go along with four points in 19 minutes off of the bench.
"We’re going to get those five more assists before these six games is up," Nick Young said.
Of course, this would not be the 2013-14 season for the Lakers if not for missed opportunities and that was certainly the case in Nash’s stab at the record books. You could argue minus those missed chances, third place on the NBA’s all-time assists leaderboard would be securely his.
There were chances early. Nash put it there. His teammates were just unable to finish.
Still, there is a calm that comes over the players with No. 10 on the court.
So, the countdown continues. The chances of the opportunity presenting itself again on Sunday are slim. D’Antoni says he doesn’t believe Nash will be in the lineup the next time the Lakers take the floor on Sunday as visitors inside Staples Center against the Clippers because of such a quick turnaround.
"It’s almost like a back to back," the Lakers head coach said. "That’ll be tough for him."
The decision, D’Antoni says, will ultimately be up to Nash.