Okay, so far against San Antonio, Steve Nash has looked more like John Crotty than John Stockton. Nash still has Stockton-like traits -- he's scrappy, tough, a respected leader who will drill a clutch jumper in your face -- but there's something slowing him down.
It's not Terry Porter. It's not Avery Johnson, either.
Nash is playing with twisted ankle (suffered in Game 5 vs. Utah) and a thigh injury he's battled all season.
Not that he'd tell you about them.
Clearly, San Antonio is the better team, even without Derek Anderson. But the Mavericks' best chance to steal a game (maybe two) is for Nash to shoot the basketball to set up a penetration game for himself and his teammates.
He's only put up 13 shots in the two games. Worse, he's only made four, all in Game 2. If Nash's body allows him to be more aggressive, the floor will open for Michael Finley, Dirk Nowtizki and Juwan Howard.
And maybe Dallas can squeeze five games out of this series.
Two games, two wins.
At this point, with Nash ailing with injuries, all Terry Porter needs to do is play Nash even.
All right, Porter (and his backup Avery Johnson) probably wouldn't even have to do that for the Spurs to close this series out, because San Antonio has just about everything covered.
The Mavericks have no answer for Tim Duncan. Shawn Bradley has made a few jumpers and blocked a few shots, but his contributions will never be enough to win any games. With Derek Anderson out, Antonio Daniels and Sean Elliott have to corral Michael Finley, but even that is going the Spurs' way.
Finley is 15-for-42 from the floor in the two Dallas losses.
Nash can make things easier for Finley (and the rest of the Mavs) if he can shoot a high percentage from the floor to set up a drive-and-dish game for Dallas.
Porter can neutralize Nash by getting the basketball out of Nash's hands.
Either way, Duncan looks like he could win the series by himself.