Updated Mar 29, 2012 - 4:44 pm
Nash laments 'bad breaks' that kept Suns out of Finals
However, one thing he has never led them to is the NBA Finals, a fact that is not particularly easy for the two- time MVP to swallow.
"I hate to pin it on breaks, but we did have some bad breaks," Nash told Bill Simmons of ESPN's B.S. Report. "Every year something happened."
Nash said the biggest thing the team was missing was a defensive-minded center.
Still, some breaks wouldn't have hurt. Except for the one that did in 2005, but we'll get to that later.
Pointing to the 2007 playoffs, when the Suns lost to the Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals, Nash talked about the suspensions that left Phoenix's front-line perilously thin in a crucial Game 5.
"We go home with a chance to go up 3-2, but Boris and Amare - who happened to be our only power forwards on the roster, and this is a roster that didn't really have a center - get suspended," he said. "We go home, have to play a very good Spurs team without any of our limited size or our frontcourt talent."
But, as every Suns fan knows, that was not the only bad break the Suns dealt with during the Nash era.
Whether it was Joe Johnson fracturing the orbital bone in his eye just before the Western Conference finals in 2005, or Stoudemire missing the playoffs because of a bum knee and Raja Bell coming up lame in the Western Conference finals in 2006, there always seemed to be something holding the Suns back.
But it was that 2007 team that Nash thought was the Suns' best shot at winning that elusive title.
"You can't look back on that series and go ‘if the suspensions didn't happen we were through,' but we were also at an all-time high," Nash said. "Diaw was playing at an exceptional level, Amare was great. We had a nice team around the main guys."
And, possibly even more than just being talented enough to win, the team was ready to finally slay the dragon that was the San Antonio Spurs.
"It was a team with a lot of belief - a lot of kind of, we'd gotten our heads chopped off for a couple years in a row, and we were kind of poised to kind of chop someone's head off," Nash said.
At the end of Game 4, which the Suns won in San Antonio 104-98, it seemed like it might just happen. But then Nash took a hip-check from Robert Horry, Stoudemire and Diaw left the bench and the rest, as they say, was history.
Amazingly, things got maybe even more painful the next season, where the Suns choked away a Game-1 win in San Antonio, which saw Tim Duncan hit a clutch three-pointer. Yes, Tim Duncan, clutch three-pointer.
"We had that game won so many times," Nash said, noting the back and forth nature of the game. "And then Tim hit the shot, and I was just like, unbelievable.
"And then that was it, we lost all momentum, all belief."
The Suns made it back to the Western Conference finals in 2010, only to see a furious rally in Los Angeles end when a Kobe Bryant airball turned into a Ron Artest lay-in at the buzzer in Game 5. The Suns lost Game 6 - and the series - a couple days later.
The Phoenix Suns won an average of 55 games per year during Steve Nash's first six seasons since signing with the team in the summer of 2004, reaching the Western Conference finals three times and being a title contender on an annual basis.
But, whether it was due to poor roster construction, running into better teams or just bad breaks, the Suns never reached the NBA Finals.
And that, unfair as it may be, is how people ultimately judge an era.
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