One game rarely tells you anything. This, however, is one of those rare occasions. The question of “Will Steve Nash really make that much of a difference?” was answered with a definitive YES.
In their first overtime game of the year, the Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors, 118-115 on Saturday night.
The game was filled with moments of hair-pulling, breath-holding, screaming your lungs out. My personal favorite was when Steve Nash hit the deal-sealing bucket to give the Lakers their 3-point lead.
“Bottom line is we hung in there. It looked ugly for a stretch … but I’m just proud because everybody hung in there when we could have folded. We got a good road win against a tough team that’s hot,” Nash said.
That sort of toughness is what coach Mike D’Antoni expects from his team, Steve Nash in particular.
“You know I asked him and he said ‘I’m great’,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know he just keeps on going. Forty minutes after not playing for seven weeks, he’s unbelievable.”
That was a rather humble way of giving all of the doubters an “I told you so.”
His toughness aside, Nash instantly brought the Lakers a renewed spirit. More players had more chances to make an impact.
“He orchestrated things,” said Kobe Bryant, “He got us in sets and in actions, which is exactly what a great point guard is supposed to do. You saw us being a lot more organized tonight.”
There was also a presence of effort and toughness the Lakers showed that those of us watching can get used to seeing. “We just said we [have] to go harder, when you met with a challenge you just have to go hard, and that’s exactly what we did,” Bryant said.
Dwight Howard had an interesting night. The Laker who stands to gain the most from the return of Nash rode the bench the majority of the night because of foul trouble. Nonetheless, Howard got focused and wound up being a big part of the end of the game that led to this victory.
“I’m just happy we won. It was a weird night [but] throughout all the circumstances I just tried to keep my head [up] and we got a good win,” Howard said.
Suddenly, a team that has mostly struggled finds itself on a season-best four-game winning streak. How about that?
Up next is a rematch with the Eastern Conference-leading New York Knicks on Christmas Day.
You can follow JD Carrere on Twitter at @SportsNetJunkie.