OAKLAND The most important player on the Los Angeles Lakers' star-studded team sat wrapped in a black robe at his locker after the game, his body hurting, his words at times whispered, the exhaustion emanating from him in waves. He'd just returned from seven weeks off with a leg injury and somehow managed to play 41 dazzling minutes and use them to spin the Lakers into an entirely new team.
"We needed it," Steve Nash said of the Lakers' rousing 118-115 comeback and overtime win over the Golden State Warriors. "We need to build every day. And we needed something to build on."
What they needed, it turned out, was Steve Nash himself.
That idea that Nash's return wouldn't by itself prove enough to reverse the Lakers' 2012 doldrums? Dismiss it. For one night, at least, he made a notion that had seemed like the wishful thinking of embattled head coach Mike D'Antoni look pretty damn real.
The man Kobe Bryant called a great point guard a...