Even after Chris Paul’s right kneecap conspired to scratch Tuesday’s most intriguing point-guard matchup from the schedule — CP3 and the Clippers facing Jeremy Lin and the Rockets — the NBA still delivered a gem by giving us Ty Lawson versus Damian Lillard. In a style clash of playmaker versus scorer, power versus skill, fast versus fearless, the four-year vet Lawson got the best of the rookie Lillard, dropping 24 points and 12 assists as the Nuggets edged the Blazers in overtime. Lillard finished with 16 points, eight boards and five dimes … Denver was threatening to pull away in the fourth quarter before Portland rallied, capped by a Wes Matthews game-tying trey with 30 seconds left. Andre Iguodala missed a good-looking jumper on the other end, Lillard missed on Portland’s possession, and it headed to an extra session. It was tied again with less than a minute remaining in the OT when Lawson, from behind the three-point arc, found JaVale McGee with a lob in front of the rim. And because JaVale can’t do anything normal, he caught the ball with his body turned away from the rim and kind of back-handed the dunk. Not only was the play itself amazing, but the fact that Lawson had the stones to throw such a risky pass to (let’s be honest) a risky teammate in a clutch reminded us of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp in their heyday … The Blazers forced another tie after that, but Wilson Chandler hit the game-winner with 15 seconds left on a corner three … The Clippers beat the Rockets despite Lin’s 12 points and 10 assists, winning their second straight game without Chris Paul thanks to Jamal Crawford (30 pts) and Matt Barnes (18 pts) leading the L.A. bench mob. Blake Griffin had his standard breakaway dunk from a step inside the free-throw line, and DeAndre Jordan had his usual Stretch Armstrong dunk and a block where he sent Patrick Patterson’s shot to the guy selling Hakeem jerseys in the concourse, but it was really the backups that carried the Clips … Grant Hill even got into the act with a decent floor game, but his defense is clearly in decline. A couple of times Hill got the blow-by while he stood there like Paul Rudd in front of a broken teleprompter … Keep reading to hear about the big upset in college basketball …
Smack / Jan 16, 2013 / 5:51 am
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