Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/30/13
The Los Angeles Lakers are on a roll heading into their longest road trip of the season, and one of their players should have a little extra motivation to perform well in the opener of that seven-game trek. In his return to Phoenix, Steve Nash will try to lead the Lakers to a fourth consecutive win while preventing an eighth straight road loss Wednesday night against the Suns. Nash missed his first chance this season to face the team that drafted him 15th overall in 1996 and brought him back for a second stint with the club spanning eight seasons from 2004-12. The point guard, who helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals three times and was named league MVP in 2005 and 2006, was recovering from a small fracture in his left leg during the Lakers' 114-102 home win Nov. 16. This is his first visit to Phoenix since a sign-and-trade deal - at his request - sent the 38-year-old Nash to Los Angeles for four draft picks over the summer. "(The Suns) were very apprehensive and didn't want to do it," Nash said at the time. "Fortunately for me, they reconsidered. They saw that they were able to get assets for their team that will make them better." He should at least get a warm reception from his former teammates. Jared Dudley tweeted in July that Nash "has not only been the best but the most unselfish player I ever played with. I only wish him the best. He deserves everything." Things haven't gone quite as Nash expected in Los Angeles, but the Lakers (20-25) are hoping their three-game winning streak behind a new style of play is reason for optimism. Nash hit a key 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining in a 111-106 win over New Orleans on Tuesday. With 12 points, he was one of six Lakers in double figures. Dwight Howard had 24 after being held to single digits in four of the previous five games, and Earl Clark scored 20, his most in nine games as a starter. Kobe Bryant had double-digit assists for the third straight game with 11 and finished just short of a triple-double again. He had eight rebounds Tuesday after pulling down nine in each of his previous two contests. "It's working pretty well," Bryant said of his new approach as a playmaker. "It's very easy for me to look over the defense and know where they're coming from, just kind of line my guys up in the right way and just pick them apart." The Lakers now try to snap their longest road losing streak since they dropped nine in a row March 14-April 5, 2005. Los Angeles, which is 5-15 on the road, will face a Suns team that's dropped back-to-back games after winning its first two under interim coach Lindsey Hunter. Phoenix (15-30) didn't provide too much of a challenge in a 110-95 loss at Dallas on Sunday. "We'll get back to work, and make sure we're better prepared next time, and make sure we're a better team on our next showing," Hunter said. Nash's replacement, Goran Dragic, had a team-best 18 points in the losing effort and scored 22 in the loss to the Lakers in November. "Every player wants to play well, especially against Steve because he is one of the best point guards," Dragic said. Bryant scored 31 points and Metta World Peace chipped in 22 in the Lakers' win over the Suns earlier this season, but they've lost their last two games in Phoenix, including a 125-105 defeat April 7.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tennessee grocery store calls for Butch Jones' firing with amazing cake

Giants owner: McAdoo was not pressured to give up play-calling

Report: Red Sox to name Alex Cora manager after ALCS

The New York Yankees have taken complete control

Cam Newton skips press conference, but why?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Green unlikely to play Friday, but knee MRI came back clean

Tyson says he hated ‘Punch-Out’ when it first came out

Nike's ‘SB51 Comeback’ sneakers made from official footballs

Report: Hayward could return in March in best-case scenario

Teddy Bridgewater believes he will ‘definitely’ play in 2017

Mark Cuban tried to pitch NBA on getting rid of draft

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker