PHOENIX - If he were a city instead of a player, Steve Nash would have his own catalog of capitalized catchphrases to match his inventory of facial affronts.
We would refer simply to the Gusher, the Bloody Eyebrow and now, the Crunched Nose. For every memorable Phoenix Suns playoff series, there is a gruesome portrait of their point guard to match.
On Sunday night, it was Nash, gripping and twisting his broken nose as if it were Silly Putty, trying to restore its form after colliding with Derek Fisher.
In replays, you could almost hear the cartilage crackling.
"That's Steve Nash, man," Suns guard Jason Richardson said with a mix of admiration and disbelief. "He's used to stuff like that. He gets hit in the face all the time."
The Suns described the injury as a minimally displaced nasal fracture with displaced cartilage. Nash had a minor procedure to reset the nose on Monday; he is expected to play in Game 4 tonight. Nash, who practiced without limitations, said he would not need a mask.
"I'm lucky," he said. "I've had a couple of bumps and bruises that haven't affected my play. So those don't bother you."
A search of "Steve Nash" and "blood" on YouTube brings up a library of lacerations and hard licks.
Earlier this month, he led the Suns to a series-clinching win over the Spurs, despite playing the final quarter with his right eye swollen shut - the result of an inadvertent Tim Duncan elbow that left him bloodied.
In December 2003, Nash (then with Dallas) had his mouth bloodied by an elbow from the Lakers' Karl Malone. In 2007, Nash had a tooth chipped when he was struck in the mouth by Utah's Carlos Boozer.
"It's just bad luck," said Richardson, who suggested that Nash forgo a face mask in favor of a helmet.
Cavs fire Brown
The Cleveland Cavaliers fired coach Mike Brown after five seasons for failing to win an NBA title with LeBron James.
Brown's dismissal Monday had been expected since the Cavs were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs.
In five seasons, Brown, who had one year left on his contract, went 272-138 (.663) and was the league's coach of the year in 2009. But the Cavs now face an uncertain future with James, the league's two-time defending MVP, eligible for free agency.
"We concluded that it was time for the Cavaliers to move in a different direction," Gilbert said.
For Gilbert to convince James to stay, he'll likely have to land a high-profile coach. That list could include Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State's Tom Izzo or Kentucky's John Calipari.
Curry has money woes
A judge says New York Knicks center Eddy Curry has defaulted on a $570,000 personal loan while keeping up a lifestyle that included a $17,000-a-month suburban New York home, a $6,000-a-month personal chef and a dozen cars he'd bought for himself and relatives.
On Friday, a Manhattan court ordered Curry to pay $75,000 a month to Las Vegas-based Allstar Capital Inc.