We here at Bright Side of the Sun will be kicking off our summertime Throwback Thursday series a bit early as we pay homage to the great Seven Seconds or Less era of the Phoenix Suns in light of the recent retirement of legendary maestro Steve Nash. Join us every Thursday as we count down the top ten moments of high-octane glory from Nash's return to the desert in 2004 to their final playoff run in 2010.
And yes, the Shaquille O'Neal chapter will properly omitted.
Check out the previous iterations here:
10: Nash drops 22 dimes on LeBron and the Cavs
9: Amar'e destroys Anthony Tolliver
Now on to this week's installment...
The Time: December 7, 2006
The Place: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
The Deed: Steve Nash and Jason Kidd clash in a shootout for the ages
Steve Nash was a rookie Canadian kid out of Santa Clara when the Suns traded for budding star point guard Jason Kidd in December of 1996. While Nash had shown definite promise, when a team gets a chance to trade for a young star like Kidd, they shouldn't pause to consider positions.
Kevin Johnson was still as Sun as well, and might end up being the only point guard on that roster that won't eventually be in the Hall of Fame.
Nash was obviously made expendable by the addition of Kidd, and after spending another season fighting for minutes off the bench, he was flipped to Dallas for a draft pick that became Shawn Marion.
Due to Nash's extremely unusual career arc in which his best years came after his 30th birthday, the Suns got to enjoy the primes years of Kidd, Nash and Marion. Even the Stephon Marbury era can't put a damper on that.
When the two old teammates met in New Jersey on December 7, 2006, it took 318 points and 2 overtime periods to settle the score.
The Tale of the Tape
|FIrst Team All-NBA Selections||3||5|
|First Team All-Defense||yeah, no||4|
Both players are first-ballot Hall of Fame material despite neither winning a championship. While Nash's offensive prowess was magnificent enough to change the way the game is played, Kidd was by far the better athlete and could hit the boards and defend like very few point guards before him or after.
The dramatic showdown featured 34 lead changes and 21 ties. Nash and Kidd traded traded enough haymakers to make Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier proud. By the time the madness finally stopped after two overtime periods, the Suns had secured a 161-157 victory.
Nash finished with 42 points and 13 assists.
Kidd notched a triple-double that would make modern-day Russell Westbrook blush.
Shawn Marion, Raja Bell and Amar'e Stoudemire combined for 80 points for the Suns, while Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson combined for 56 points for New Jersey.
Nine of Nash's 42 points came in the second overtime, which was enough to finally put Kidd and the Nets away.
Both teams spoke after the game about what was obviously an instant classic.
"I think we can go home and turn on Classic NBA," Suns coach
Mike D'Antoni said. "It will be on there already. That's the best
game I have ever seen."
"It was a crazy game," said Nash. "They decided to run with us tonight. Both
teams deserved to win. We were lucky to come out on top."
"For the NBA it was one of those games they would like to see
more often," Kidd said. "You know, guys were playing hard. It was
a clean game, a lot of points, but it came down the last couple of
minutes of each quarter, and it probably will be a classic."
One would be hard-pressed to find even a playoff game that featured two masters of their craft battling to such dramatic effect, nevermind a matchup in December. This was about as good as NBA basketball gets, and was prime example of why skipping a Suns game during the Seven Seconds or Less era was a cardinal folly.
Party on, Steve.
Party on, Jason.