Shaquille O'Neal had a message this week for media members who selected Steve Nash as the NBA's MVP.
“If it was voted on by some legends or some players, you know, it would concern me," O'Neal told TNT's John Thompson. “But it's voted on by earthlings. Earthlings make mistakes."
Apparently, O'Neal hasn't been watching Nash's out-of-this-world playoff performances.
While O'Neal was largely a non-factor in Miami's Game 1 loss to Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals, Nash did everything humanly possible — and then some — to will his team to victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday at America West Arena.
He played 46 of 48 minutes against the hounding defense of Tony Parker, scored 29 points on 13-of-22 shooting, handed out 15 assists and grabbed five rebounds in San Antonio's 111-108 win.
With backup point guard Leandro Barbosa a bust in Game 1 — San Antonio outscored Phoenix by 14 when he was in the game — Suns coach Mike D'Antoni chose to ride his prize pony all the way to the finish by giving Barbosa two brief minutes Tuesday.
“We were rolling the dice a little bit and seeing if he didn't run out of gas," D'Antoni said . “I had to give him a couple minute blow in the fourth quarter so he wouldn't die on me."
Nash never did, drilling a 3-pointer with 2:56 remaining to give Phoenix a 102-100 lead and the Suns faithful a brief moment of hope.
“Steve gives us the same thing, night in, night out — everything he's got," forward Quentin Richardson said.
“He played the whole game didn't he? He did everything he had to do."
The only thing Nash couldn't do was produce a victory against the supremely poised Spurs.
With two players guarding his every stride all the way up the court, Nash hoisted a 3-pointer that glanced off the rim at the game's final buzzer, allowing San Antonio to skip town with an ominous 2-0 lead in this series.
“There was some congestion and I really didn't have much room," Nash said of the final shot. “I was just trying to get something up on the rim and see if it would go in. I just couldn't get it to fall."
Nash said he never even thought about leaving the game, despite the long minutes and some weary patches.
“You have your moments but overall I felt pretty good," he said. “Fatigue isn't really a concern right now."
The greater factor, Nash said, was the Spurs' lethal execution, for the second straight game, in the fourth quarter.
“At some point you have to say that they deserved to win," Nash said.
“I can't say I'm too surprised. They're a terrific team. Experience gives them a lot of confidence."