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D-Rose is back, D-Wade is hurt, and T-Pain puts Phoenix on the brink

By 04.22.12
Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson (photo. Nike)


While the battle to watch in the East is over the top playoff seed, the most compelling drama in the West is at the bottom. (Spurs/Thunder for No. 1 is close, but you tell us the last time Tim Duncan and “compelling” belonged in the same neighborhood.) The Suns, Jazz and Rockets are battling for the eighth seed, while the Nuggets needed a win yesterday in Phoenix to clinch their playoff spot … We don’t know all of the nicknames they have for Ty Lawson in Denver, but in Phoenix they should start calling him T-Pain. Lawson put a hurting on whoever tried to guard him, dropping 29 points and 10 dimes in a Denver rout. When Steve Nash was in, Lawson sped right past him. When Sebastian Telfair was in, Lawson outmuscled him to the rim. And that’s when he wasn’t getting his Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf stroke on, hitting 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Lawson’s fifth triple came on a play where Arron Afflalo used a “spin move” under the basket that looked more like he’d been sucked into a tornado, somehow kicking the rock out to Lawson as he was falling on his face. Afflalo is gonna be one of those guys who always contributes to good teams, but he’s stiff enough that we could see him moving around like Metta World Peace as he gets older … At the beginning of the second half, the Phoenix arena DJ played the Kurt Angle WWE theme song. The Suns were down two at the time. A few minutes later they were down 21 and tapping out … Bruce Bowen‘s “manimal” scream for Kenneth Faried (18 pts, 14 rebs, 3 blks) sounded more like the kitten on the wrong end of the manimal’s lunch break. Bruce might want to work on that before he calls another Nuggets game … So the Suns are in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year, which would be the third Lottery trip in Steve Nash’s eight years with the team. Throw in one first-round exit, no trips to the Finals, and — tell us again why Nash isn’t pegged as a loser/choker in the same way that guys like Carmelo, Vince Carter and LeBron are pegged? … The Suns needed the Jazz to lose to Orlando, but Devin Harris wasn’t letting that happen. You’d think that Utah and their stable of bigs going against a Dwight Howard-less Magic team would be like fighting Manny Pacquiao when he only has one arm: He’s still a pro and could knock you out, but he’s also missing a glaring piece of his arsenal … Orlando hung tough into overtime, when Harris assisted Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward on buckets, then scored himself on a driving layup and a dagger three in the final minute. Harris (21 pts, 7 asts) also blocked a three attempt by Jameer Nelson at the end of regulation that kept Orlando from stealing the W … In the battle of Kentucky letdowns, Enes Kanter kind of destroyed Daniel Orton. Kanter was giving the anti-Dwight a clinic in up-and-unders and low-post footwork, generally making Orton look silly. Orton racked up five fouls in 11 minutes, while Kanter had 9 points in just 13 minutes of work … Pacers/Sixers was the most heated game of the night, and the most heated man on the court was Doug Collins, the 60-year-old guy wearing a suit. With about one minute to go in overtime of a physical contest, Lou Williams drained a three to put Philly up by one. Dave West (32 pts, 12 rebs) answered with a fadeaway for Indiana, then Jrue Holiday came right back with a pull-up J to regain the lead. Holiday later got a breakaway dunk, and Philly won by three after Danny Granger bricked at the buzzer … When it was over, Doug Collins lost it. Before the League Pass feed cut off, Collins was being dragged off the court by his assistants, screaming “You f***ing a**hole!” at somebody … Other stat lines from Saturday: Courtney Lee‘s 20 points helped Houston clip Golden State and keep their playoff hopes alive; Brandon Jennings scored 30 to lead Milwaukee past New Jersey; and Rudy Gay had 21 points as Memphis beat Portland … We’re out like Rashad Evans

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TOPICS#DERRICK ROSE#DWIGHT HOWARD#LeBron James
TAGSArron AfflaloBRANDON JENNINGSCourtney LeeDAVID WESTDEVIN HARRISDWYANE WADEJOHN WALLLou WilliamsLuol DengMIKE MILLERNeneRodrigue BeauboisSmackSTEVE NASHTIM DUNCANTy Lawson

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