"It was a relief, to be honest," said Nash, a two-time league MVP. "I kind of just wanted to get it out of the way because I didn't want it hanging over my head or my teammates' heads, so it was nice to get it done."
It happened on a pass to Jodie Meeks for a dunk with 2 minutes 13 seconds left in the first half. Nash entered the game with 10,330 career assists, just four behind Mark Jackson's 10,334. His pass to Meeks moved Nash to 10,335, now behind only John Stockton's 15,806 and Jason Kidd's 12,091.
Nash, who has played in just 14 games this season while dealing with back, hamstring and knee issues, said this personal victory came with a setback.
"I knew it would come sooner or later, the tricky thing is I tweaked my nerve tonight," Nash said of the record. "I said, 'Just leave me out here and let's get this over with so that we can move on and not have to worry about it.'"
Nash said he suffered the tweak early on in the game while he was sprinting up the court.
"It just caught me and I felt that bite in my hamstring, which means the nerve was pinched again," he said.
Nash added that he probably will not play in the Lakers' four remaining games this season.
"I feel OK, I'm a little sore, but it'll be interesting to see where I am actually and how much of a deficit I am at this point, and whether I can get this back in five, 10 days or whether it's gonna take me three or four weeks," he said.
In addition to getting rid of the so-called record distraction, Nash said he had some extra inspiration coming from the stands to motivate him to play through the pain.
"I also had a special friend in town tonight from Atlanta who was a recent cancer survivor," Nash said. "... I wanted to get it done while he was here so he could share in it. I really was inspired by his fight through his chemotherapy and everything, and I really wanted to get it done while he was here."
Nash, who is from Canada, said he never imagined as a child that he'd be where he is now.
"This is beyond my wildest dreams as a kid," he said. "I was just trying to get a scholarship to come down and play Division I basketball, and I was lucky enough to have one offer, and took it, and, you know, dreams come true, I guess."