Friday , May , 06 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Steve Nash to be named MVP

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash will be named the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player, the Arizona Republic reported Friday.

Nash, who helped the Suns tie a franchise record for wins this season, apparently edged out Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal for the award, the paper said. also reported the news, but the official announcement will be made on Sunday during halftime of ABC’s NBA playoff show.

The Suns posted just 29 victories in 2003-04, but the offseason acquisition of Nash from the Dallas Mavericks sparked a 33-win turnaround, and the team finished with the NBA’s best record at 62-20 this season.

Nash averaged a league-leading 11.5 assists and 15.5 points during the regular season, and the Suns completed a four-game sweep of Memphis last Sunday to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

O’Neal has led a similar renaissance in his first season with Miami, averaging 22.9 points and 10.4 rebounds to lead the Heat to 59 wins — tops in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the league with San Antonio.