A bout with the flu didn’t keep Steve Nash from having one of his best offensive games of the season. The Phoenix Suns star guard looks to build on that performance in a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Nash scored a season-high 35 points Saturday in a 122-114 win over Milwaukee, Phoenix’s third win in four games and seventh in nine. The two-time league MVP left Wednesday’s overtime win over Indiana in the third quarter because of stomach flu, then stayed home during Thursday’s 108-86 loss to Utah.
Nash was still suffering from some lingering effects Saturday, but that didn’t seem to impact him at all. He scored 26 points in the second half and finished 13-of-17 from the field, hitting five 3-pointers.
“I actually didn’t feel great,” Nash said, “but somebody was smiling on me and a bunch of shots went in.”
Nash’s return helped the Suns bounce back from the loss to the Jazz, their most lopsided of the season. Phoenix shot 57 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures against the Bucks.
“An unbelievable player,” Nash said of the inconsistent Diaw. “When he uses all his weapons and is aggressive, he’s a fantastic talent. I’d love to see him play like that all the time, and I don’t mean the numbers. I mean being involved, being part of the game, putting pressure on the defense.”
Nash is averaging 13.9 points and 7.9 assists in 44 games versus the Clippers and 13.0 points and 10.7 assists in three wins against them this season.
Los Angeles (10-23) has lost four straight and 10 of 11, including a 95-94 defeat to Dallas on Saturday. The Clippers shot 52.2 percent from the field and had a six-point lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but lost on Jerry Stackhouse’s 3-pointer as time expired.
“It shouldn’t even have come down to that play,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We had the ball with a 2-second differential on the clock. We wanted to take a shot and give them 2 seconds or less, but we shot the ball too soon. We gave them too much time to give them a chance to make a play and get a guy open for a 3-point shot - which won the ballgame.”
Tim Thomas scored 21 points while Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley each added 20. The Clippers’ only win during this stretch was a 91-82 victory on Dec. 31 over Minnesota - owner of the NBA’s worst record.
Los Angeles has been outscored by an average of 15 points in this season’s three meetings with the Suns. The Clippers have lost 17 of their last 22 home games against Phoenix.