It was an emotional game to say the very least for the Phoenix Suns as they hosted not only a divisional rival, but three former members of a team with fonder memories than the current present.
That emotion was harnessed early the Suns came out with purpose forcing turnovers and trying to spoil Steve Nash's return to U.S. Airways Center.
In the end the Suns (16-30) topped the Lakers (20-26) with the final of 92-86. Wins against the Lakers are more important than ten losses for the Suns as they get ready for the lottery.
All The Ammenities For Nash
Just before tip-off the Los Angeles Lakers set Nash up as the final announced starter that lead to a ruckus standing ovation for the former Sun. He was welcomed by his former fans as the legend he became here. From there the crowd booed here and there, but overall they were happy to see Nash again -- and were a partisan Lakers crowd.
It felt like a road game.
Midway through the third quarter the Suns put together a phenomenal "Coming Home" video package for Nash that highlighted his career from being drafted a Sun and tracking his great career here. The Suns and Nash handled his return here with class.
Third Quarter Collapse
At the half the Suns were tied with the Lakers at 41, but then gave back 10 points in the third to dig themselves another hole to climb out of. The Lakers hit four three-point shots and gave up only one turnover in the third leading to the 32 point outburst.
The Lakers scored 32 points in the third and the Suns managed just 37 in the second and third combined.
The defense wasn't the only problem for the Suns in that quarter as they shot 9-21 (1-5 from three) overall missing opportunities to score with the Lakers. They carried that deficit into the fourth quarter where they could not get the offense going, again, losing, again.
The Up-And-Down Beasley Effect
Early on Beasley was on fire from the field and causing turnovers, but they regressed back into the typical bad misses and turnovers that he has grown accustom to doing.
A positive sign came out of this as he seemed to weather a few in game storms to finish with 27 points 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Easily his best game of the season. Whether it is the confidence, the coaching, the comfort level, or the fit, Beasley has really played at a high level under new coach Lindsey Hunter.
However his clutch play down the stretch with tough buckets were the reason the Suns not only were in the game, but came out on top.
The night began as a tribute to Nash and the hope that the Lakers did not run them over. It quickly turned into a ball game as Goran Dragic (11 points 8 assists) strapped the team on his back late making plays for himself, Jared Dudley (9 points), and others to fight all the way back to a tie with 3:37 to go in the game.