Nash Reaches Shootout Finals, Finishes Third

Feb. 9, 2002

By Marc Stein
The Dallas Morning News

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Steve Nash gave himself little chance to win a championship that has eluded an array of Mavericks ... from Dale Ellis to Detlef Schrempf to Derek Harper to Hubert Davis to Dirk Nowitzki.

"I might put up the first zero in the history of the contest," Nash joked.

He felt that weary Saturday night, after a long first half in his day job and some hearty celebrations with family and friends the past few nights. The fun started in New York, where Nash celebrated his 28th birthday, and continued when joined by a few more rambunctious relatives from England along with his parents, John and Jean.

Nash nonetheless registered some decent numbers in the league's annual Long Distance Shootout, finishing third after nosing out defending champion Ray Allen for a spot in the finals.

Nash might even have won had he not fatigued late in the finals, finishing with 18 points after a first-round 15. Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic and Cleveland's Wesley Person responded with 19s to force a 24-second tiebreaker, which Stojakovic won (9-6).

"Better than zero," Nash said. "I had a real good chance. I got hot during [the final round] and started thinking, 'Wow, I'm in this.' Then I just ran out of gas. It's harder than it looks, shooting one after another."

Nash couldn't get out of the first round last year in Washington. Nowitzki, who finished third in 2001 behind Allen and Stojakovic, watched Nash from courtside as an analyst on German television.