Suns rally to beat Lakers in Nash’s return
by Zach Buchanon, USA TODAY Sports
PHOENIX — For Steve Nash, the emotion and positivity of his return to Phoenix after being traded to the Lakers in the offseason lasted the first 6:42 of the game.
The 38-year-old point guard was introduced last of all the Lakers and took the court to a hero’s welcome — with a small smattering of boos — from a vociferous crowd made of equal parts Suns and Lakers fans.
During the first timeout of the game with 5:18 left in the first quarter, the Suns showed a tribute video of Nash’s highlights with Phoenix set to Coming Home by Diddy Dirty Money and Skylar Grey.
After that, it was all business on both sides as the Suns fought to a 92-86 win at U.S. Airways Center.
“It was good to see him,” said Suns center Marcin Gortat, who played a season and a half with Nash. “Obviously it was great to play against him, but at the end of the day he’s on another team and all we care about now is to win the game.”
Nash called the video “very flattering and very sweet,” although he probably missed the first minute or so as Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was going over strategy during the timeout. Gortat only saw a few minutes of it himself.
If Nash was overcome by emotion in any way, he didn’t show it on the court or in the postgame locker room. But in his standard hushed tone, he thanked the fans for their support.
“It’s a great reception,” Nash said. “Obviously this is a very special place for me. To be in front of these incredible fans — I’m very grateful for the reception but also for my time here, which was the best years of my life.”
Suns who had played with Nash hadn’t had much of a chance to catch up with him before the game. Gortat only had a few seconds to say hello and tell him he missed him.
Phoenix point guard Goran Dragic, who apprenticed under Nash for two-and-a-half seasons, found it odd playing against his former mentor.
“It is always weird playing against Steve,” said Dragic, who had … [For more on Phoenix Suns rally to beat Los Angeles Lakers in Steve Nash's return, click here.]