Nash is Magic — Raps coach

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was asked if he could remember seeing a point guard play the way Canadian Steve Nash has this season, and in particular yesterday.

"Just flat-out control the game?" Mitchell asked rhetorically. "Get the ball to everybody where they want it and still get his? Magic Johnson."

Sheesh, imagine what Mitchell might have said had Nash been required to play more than 29 minutes.

Nash, an early candidate for the NBA's most-valuable-player award this season, yesterday racked up 19 points and 12 assists in only 29 minutes of court time as his high-flying Phoenix Suns embarrassed the ragged Raptors 123-105.

"Steve Nash is by far the best point guard in the league right now," Mitchell said. "Hands down. It's not even close. Anyone who says they are (the best) is lying."

The Suns scored 46 points in the third quarter -- the most points ever allowed in a quarter by the Toronto franchise -- and Nash got to sit out the entire final period as Phoenix coasted to an easy victory, improving to 36-10 overall.

"We have breakout quarters like (the third quarter yesterday) from time to time, but that was certainly one to remember, maybe one of our best," said Nash, a native of Victoria, B.C., and the heart of the Canadian national team for much of the past decade.

"We (the Suns) have a lot of terrific offensive players, we're very athletic and we get into the open court. It's very difficult to contain us."

Well, tell the NBA something it doesn't know by now.

Not that it would have been the ultimate difference-maker, but the Raptors were without their starting point guard yesterday. Rafer Alston served the first game of a two-game club suspension for conduct detrimental to the team (he walked out of a practice session on Saturday).

"Obviously, defensively (Alston) is a little different than Milt Palacio (who replaced Alston in the Raptors' starting lineup), so you play certain situations differently," Nash said. "Other than that, every night in the NBA you play somebody different, so you try to, I think, make the games as similar as possible."

Yes, there are similarities when analyzing the Suns' games this season. Mainly, they win most of them.

And Nash is the biggest reason why.


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