That puts a premium on the performances of the starters. And Nash is responding.
His 37 points in the tournament have come on just 17 shots from the floor, with his aggressiveness leading to 25 trips to the foul line.
In Friday's 62-45 rout of Tennessee, Nash went 11-of-13 from the foul line. The makes and attempts were single-game career highs.
“I like how he's getting his points,” Ford said. “He's not getting his points going one-on-one a lot. Now, we are getting him off the dribble with some mismatches a bit, but he's getting them down in the post, second-shot fouls, playing very unselfish.
“We hope that he continues with that mentality, that attitude. If he does, it makes our team better.”