Steve Nash Interview
In Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Playoffs the Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in Mavs history. Here's what Suns guard and league MVP Steve Nash said about the loss in the post-game press conference:
Q. Steve, this has got to be obviously a tough time. How does it feel, one, to have it all end and to see a friend like Dirk and how do you feel about him going on?
STEVE NASH: Well, it's a tough loss, for sure. I mean, you know, you can taste it when you get close like this. So, you know, you spend a lot of time convincing yourself that you're destined to do it. And when you don't, it's difficult.
However, you know, we got beat by a good team, a very good team. And for me personally, you know, to see Dirk be able to play for the championship is -- it's exciting. I mean, it hurts a lot that I won't be able to do it, but I'm really... really admire what he's been able to do. Proud of his accomplishments and what he's meant to that team. And he deserves it and I'll be rooting for him.
Q. Steve, you could sense the fatigue in the second half. And obviously you gave everything you had this year. How important do you think it is next year, in the off-season, for the Suns to look at the back-up point guard spot and try to limit your minutes next season?
STEVE NASH: Well, we'll see. You know, I mean... you know, it's tough. I think that, you know, Eddie won us some games this year. So it's tough to say where we're going to go. At the same time, you know, maybe we need a deeper team. You know, they have three point guards and a fourth guy that can play points. So it's, you know... maybe it's different facets of depth that are important for us. But, you know, I think that, you know, we can keep addressing things. You know, we're pretty close. I hate to say it, but I think -- do you guys see this friend I have up here? I don't know if that was broadcasted nationally, but he was... I don't know.
Q. You said we're pretty close.
STEVE NASH: Yeah, we're close, and we have a lot of exchanges back. I mean, obviously we'll try to get better, but, you know, we can all also improve individually and collectively. So it's not the end of the world.
Q. Steve, following that line of thinking, then how much of this series was affected that you guys got worn out because it was a short bench, played a lot of games in this playoffs and they were pretty deep?
STEVE NASH: I think it would be ignorant to say it wasn't a factor at all. I mean, we were winning in every game of the series, I believe at half time. So, you know, to lose in the second half, I don't know if you can pin it all on fatigue, but I think it would also be ignorant not to say I played a part, and we had a short bench throughout most of the year we had a lot of injuries and had a short bench in the playoffs. And we're undersized, so we had to play a little harder and do more running and things to negate our size advantage.
Q. Steve, along those lines, was the 18-point lead a little misleading, because you had three, what, four guys with three fouls and then a short time later four guys with four?
STEVE NASH: Yeah, I think also the second quarter is not a good time to get an 18-point lead. You know? Dallas I think had a 20-some point lead against San Antonio in Game 7 and it went to overtime. So an 18 point, it's not all it's cracked up to be in a pressure game in the first half, especially. Especially in the NBA. Everything seems to even out and we had done a great job defensively early on.
They also missed some opportunities. I think we got a little more tired and we got all these fouls stacked up against us. We couldn't play quite the same, with the same activity. You know, they started to get it going. And I think more than anything our fatigue also hurts our offense. I think we probably scored 30-something points in the second half, maybe in the 40s because of a late little run. But it's tough for us, I think, at both ends of the floor a little bit. And that was definitely a factor, I think.
Q. Steve, you talked about it there in the second half. Raja Bell said, the quote was, until a team wins with your style of play haters are going to hate. How do you react to that and was that in fact the case in the second half that they solved your ability to run the basketball?
STEVE NASH: I think if anything we proved to me that we can win a championship playing this way. I mean for us to be as close as we are to be winning at half in every game with a six, eight man rotation depending on what you want to call it, depending on each game. You know, we were right there. And we also had a lot of injuries. You know, I mean you add those two things up, you can't tell me that we couldn't won one of the close games, or two of these close games in the series. So our feeling we can really win a championship playing this way, definitely. If anything this year went farther to convince me of that.
Q. A lot of teammates talked afterwards that emotionally you guys put a lot of eggs in your basket in Dallas in Game 5 and got so close, got the seven point lead and weren't able to get that game out, how hard was it to come back here and try to make it happen tonight?
STEVE NASH: For me, it wasn't. For me I had forgotten about it. Yeah, okay, it was tough in the moment to get in control of that game and lose it so quickly. There were some technicals and bonus and weird plays and foul trouble.
But for me I washed it away and felt we were going to win tonight. We had an 18-point lead in the second. We were up 10 or 12 at the half, and another case of us just maybe not having the depth and the legs to get it done in the second half. Part of me feels that's a weak excuse, but part of me feels it's a factor. You can't just tail off every second half the way we did and not expect it to mean something. So, you know, they were deeper than us, that's for sure.