Steve Nash thinks Eastern Conference is as deep as ever

The two best records in the NBA belong to Western Conference powers Golden State and Phoenix, but Steve Nash believes the East is as deep as it has been in years.

Ten teams in the conference began play Sunday with records above .500, with the Nets’ lead over Chicago down to a half-game following Saturday’s home loss to the Bulls.

“The simple answer is it’s about as strong as the East has been for a long time,” Nash said Saturday. “There aren’t any ‘gimmes,’ so to speak. The West is terrific and has some great teams at the top, but the East is deep. Every night, it seems like a battle. I think it’s good for the balance of the league and for this kind of depth and parity.

“It feels like since the ’90s, we haven’t seen that, but it’s been exciting to see such a competitive Eastern Conference so far.”

Steve Nash
Corey Sipkin/New York Post

The Nets (16-7) will play their next two games on back-to-back nights in Dallas (Tuesday) and Houston to open a four-game road trip. Brooklyn then will face five consecutive Eastern Conference foes: Atlanta, Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia and Orlando.

Veteran forward Paul Millsap said James Harden didn’t need to take the blame for Saturday’s loss to the Bulls after a 5-for-21 shooting night.

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“He can’t blame himself. It’s a team effort, man. Doesn’t matter what goes on through the course of a game, down the stretch, who missed an assignment, who missed a shot,” said Millsap, who scored a season-high 13 points. “At the end of the day it’s a team sport. We all can take credit for that and we all can get better.

“We all missed some shots around the basket that we normally [make]. It’s unfortunate. He had one of those days, but we have to continue to build each other up and help him through those stretches and hopefully vice versa.”

With 28 points on Saturday night, Kevin Durant surpassed Ray Allen for 24th on the all-time scoring list with 24,512. Next on the list is Knicks legend Patrick Ewing at 24,815.

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