Aside from the foreign background and free-flowing hairstyle, Luis Scola will never be mistaken for Steve Nash out on the basketball court.
Monday though, Scola dialed up his inner-Nash with a career-high ten assists against Sacramento.
“I’ve been playing for a couple of years now so I think I understand the game a little bit better,” Scola said of a Suns performance matched only one other time this season (Goran Dragic, Nov. 2 vs. Detroit).
“With a little time playing for this time I’ve started to learn my teammates a little bit better too,” Scola continued. “The number of assists doesn’t really matter but the fact that if I could be effective of helping other teammates to get shots and help the team have a little bit of a flow is going to be important I think.”
Scola became just the fifth non-guard to record double-digit assists in a game this season, joining Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Greg Monroe and Nicolas Batum.
The Suns caught a glimpse of what Scola could do with the basketball in his hand very early in training camp. He had a game-high five assists in the team’s final scrimmage before departing San Diego.
“When you’ve got smart guys on the basketball court that know what to do with the ball when they get it, it makes it easier on the whole team,” Shannon Brown said.
So while Scola giveth, Brown taketh away.
With 2:32 remaining in the game, Brown picked off a DeMarcus Cousins pass for his one and only steal on the night. It was, however, his 11th straight game of at least one steal, setting a new career-high.
“Just trying to lock in with the defense,” Brown said of the streak. “We’re going to put pressure on the guys, whether it’s doubling or whether we trap a guy. I just want to be there if they try to make a lazy pass and just get it and get out and run and get some easy baskets.
“It is kind of an art to it,” he added, “because you’ve got to be on the same page with all of your teammates. If I don’t get that pass, I’ve got to trust that they’ve got my back. So, if I’m on point and I get the pass, we’re off to the races.”
•The starting lineup of Dragic, Brown, Dudley, Scola and Gortat is 3-0; it’s the first Suns starting squad this season to win its first three games together. Alvin Gentry has used five starting lineups this season.
•Gentry on his team’s season-high three-game winning streak, “What can we say? Break up the Suns, right?”