HoopsHype.com Interviews

Steve Nash: "We've been playing ugly"
by Jon Finkel / November 17, 2002

You guys were jumping around more than the Nets' dancers towards the end of the game. Was the enthusiasm from beating the Nets or staying undefeated?

Steve Nash: We love playing together and we love adversity. You know, back-to-back, the two best teams in the East. We wanted it. We didn't know if we had enough left in the tank, but we made the plays down the stretch and we were excited to win, staying undefeated is just the icing.

Before you got to the stretch run, however, you were down 6 at the end of the third quarter. What was going through your heads during the break?

SN: I think that the team was tired. We had this three-game road trip here in the East. We've got very few bodies right now so we were tired, but we've also got a lot of character and we want to win. I think we took it as a challenge, an opportunity to pit ourselves against a great team in the fourth quarter at the end of a long road trip, them giving us their best punch. We revel in those situations.

How important was it for you to play great defense on Kidd in the fourth quarter?

SN: Well... First, he still had a tremendous game. But we were able to make it tough for him and the rest of the team. It's important for us, if we're going to be a good team, to be a good defensive team in the fourth quarter.

How awesome is it for you, as the point guard, to have a solid player like Dirk on your team?

SN: Having a guy like Dirk on your team makes it easier on everyone, not just me. Other teams have to pay a lot of attention to him. Some nights, we're able to make him a better player. That's the key to our team. We have so many weapons. You can just pick your poison. Tonight, we had enough guys to get it going to win.

In the fourth quarter you were the Nets' poison, weren't you?

SN: I just tried to be aggressive and stay composed. My willingness to succeed tonight in the game... You know, I haven't played particularly well this week, I've been fighting some bangs and bruises, but tonight, I just wanted to give us a chance to win and leave it all out there on the floor.

So, do you feel that this game was a test?

SN: Anytime you play a finalist it's going to be a challenge. They feel like they've upgraded with Dikembe and you know that's a team that's going to figure in late in the season. They're going to give us another great shot at our place later in the year.

You ran an in-bounds play for a 20-foot jumper for ex-Net Shawn Bradley with time running out on the shot clock. Is it his birthday or did you just think he'd come up big in front of his old team?

SN: (Laughs) Well, Shawn hasn't felt well this year and he's been giving us whatever he could. The teams' gained a lot of respect for Shawn and that shot that he hit and all the blocks he's gotten are great for him.

You've got Bradley hitting jumpers, Adrian Griffin starting, it seems like everyone who is healthy is contributing to do whatever it takes to win during this streak.

SN: That's been a characteristic of ours the last two seasons. As long as we've been together, we've had a lot of fight in us.

Personally, you had 30 points and 9 assists. Obviously, you played well, but was this one of the best games the Mavs have played as a team with all of the injuries?

SN: In some ways this game was pretty ugly tonight. We've been playing ugly. Without all of our bodies, we've been kicking it all over the shop, but fortunately we've been able to make the big buckets and rely on our defense for once. Don't get me wrong, it's a great win, but I don't think any of us are satisfied with the way we played.

Jon Finkel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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