(above : two-time NBA MVP models his Tim Lincecum Halloween costume)

Just days after praising Steve Nash’s heroics in playing with one eye swollen shut during last Sunday’s Game 4 elimination of San Antonio, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson changed his tune yesterday, telling reporters the Suns PG’s mannerisms are tough to simulate “because you can’t carry the ball like he does in practice” (“you can’t pick that ball up and run with it”). At Phoenix practice earlier today, Nash proved every bit Phil’s equal in what seems like less of a pissing match and something more akin to a tweak-fest. From the LA Times’ Baxter Holmes :

“I’ve been in the league for 14 years,” Nash said. “I don’t know if I’ve been called for carrying yet. It’s news to me. I’ve never heard anyone complain about me carrying the ball.”

Nash seemed to be getting a kick out of Jackson’s comments, knowing he was being drawn into Jackson’s game.

“I don’t think I’ve fully made it until I’ve been drawn into a war of words with Phil,” Nash joked. “Everybody knows what he’s up to. I think it’s fun. I think the fans and the media get a kick out of it.”

“The best coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, didn’t have a problem with it last week,” Nash said, alluding to the Suns’ sweep of the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.

Did Nash make the underhanded remark intentionally?

“I didn’t say anything,” he said, smiling. “I didn’t say anything.”