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Suns' Steve Nash isn't backing down from his prediction

The two-time NBA MVP, who said after Thursday's Game 5 loss to the Lakers that the Suns would win Game 6 on Saturday in Phoenix and return to L.A. for Game 7, expresses similar confidence after practice Friday.

May 28, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Phoenix -- Wave after wave of reporters descended upon Steve Nash after practice Friday, all asking the same question.

Are you guaranteeing that the Phoenix Suns will defeat the Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals?

That question was posed to Nash repeatedly because of his statements after the Suns lost Game 5 and headed home trailing, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series that resumes Saturday night at US Airways Center.

Nash looked every reporter in the eye, sometimes even smiling, often saying he wasn't making a proclamation like Joe Namath when he guaranteed the New York Jets would defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

"I didn't say guarantee," Nash said Friday. "But, I have no problem with that."

It did sound like a defining statement, Nash was told.

"Good," Nash responded. "I have no problem with it."

The Suns had suffered a tough 103-101 loss to the Lakers in Game 5 Thursday at Staples Center on a last-second basket by Ron Artest, who caught Kobe Bryant's airball and scored on a put-back.

"We lost and they held home court," Nash said after the game. "We'll go back home and do the same and we'll come back here for Game 7."

Given the opportunity to clarify things Friday, Nash didn't back down, nor was he definitive.

"It's a belief," he said. "I believe we're going to come home and win and go back and play Game 7 over there."

Nash believes all his teammates feel the same.

"We can't make him look bad," Suns forward Grant Hill said. "We're a confident team and we look forward to tomorrow."

The Suns maintain they are not a team that fears what lies ahead, even though they are on the brink of elimination.

"We don't create pressure," Coach Alvin Gentry said. "We understand what's at stake. I think Kobe was right. We are a loosey-goosey group of guys. But we know what's at stake."

Nash said he will do his part to help the Suns. He had 29 points and 11 assists in Game 5.

He noticed that the Lakers forced him into being a scorer rather than a facilitator.

Nash is prepared to do either in Game 6.

"It doesn't matter," Nash said. "I think I have to be responsible and open-minded. Whatever they play, I need to make the right read."

If the Suns do win Game 6, Game 7 will be at Staples Center on Monday night. It also would make Nash right with his predication.

"I didn't say, 'Aw, Joe Namath. He walked in with his fur coat,' " Nash said. "I just said we're going to come home and win Game 6 and come back for Game 7."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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