TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule
NBA

Lawson, Nuggets beat Suns to clinch playoff berth

{eot}
Associated Press
4/21/2012 9:05:11 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

PHOENIX -- Now that the Denver Nuggets are in the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, there will be no letting up for the final three games of the regular season.

Coach George Karl wants his young team to gain some momentum, and there's still a chance to pass Dallas for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference.

Ty Lawson went 5 of 5 on 3-pointers and had 29 points and 10 assists to lead Denver to the playoff-clinching 118-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

Denver pulled even with Dallas after the Mavericks lost at Chicago. Dallas, though, has the tiebreaker with the Nuggets.

"We have three games left and we are going to try to win all three of them There won't be any rest going on here," Karl said. "We are not in that mode. We are into getting better and coming together. It is a young team that will have to learn how to win in the playoffs. On the job training, but it has been done before."

The Suns fell a game behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz, playing at home, rallied to beat Orlando in overtime. Phoenix must win at Uah on Tuesday to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Suns own the tiebreaker against the Jazz.

"We got to go into Utah -- tough environment, tough atmosphere, tough team -- and we got to win," said the Suns' Shannon Brown, who scored 28 points, including a career-best 6 3s in 12 attempts. "That's basically what it comes down to."

Steve Nash of the Suns had 13 assists, nine in the first quarter, and passed Oscar Robertson into fifth place on the NBA's career list. The Suns lost Channing Frye to a shoulder injury in the second quarter.

The Nuggets beat the Suns for the sixth straight time, three this season.

"They've got size, they got strength, they got a lot of skill, they can shoot the ball," Nash said. "You know, they've got a really good team, a really deep team, so they've been causing a lot of problems for us and we haven't been able to beat them."

Arron Afflalo scored 19 points and Kenneth Faried had 16 for the Nuggets, who had six players finish in double figures, shot 55 per cent from the field and had a 26-2 advantage on fastbreak points.

Lawson noted that the Suns, like so many other teams, passed on him in the 2009 draft. Phoenix chose Earl Clark at No. 14. Lawson finally went at No. 18 to Minnesota.

"I mean, that is probably the only added motivation I have," Lawson said. "It has nothing against Steve. He is definitely one of my idols so you always want to see how good you are against your idols."

Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix.

Denver used a third-period outburst to build a 21-point lead. The Suns cut it to 10 in the fourth quarter but could get no closer.

Nash passed Robertson with his fourth assist, on a 3-pointer by Frye just 4:22 into the game. The two-time MVP had assists on five of Phoenix's first six field goals and finished the first quarter with nine.

After a tight first half, the Nuggets outscored Phoenix 33-14 to start the third quarter, going up 93-72 on Al Harrington's fastbreak dunk with 2:31 left in the period. The Suns, though, scored the final eight points of the quarter to cut it to 93-80 entering the fourth. The closest the Suns got after that was 105-95 on Brown's 3 with 4:42 left. Lawson and Andre Miller followed with layups and Phoenix didn't threaten again.

"We could never get them under control at the start of the third quarter," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "They got a couple of easy layups and we struggled to slow them down from there."

Lawson scored 11 points in the third quarter, making 4 of 6 shots, including all three 3-point attempts.

The Nuggets led 60-58 after a first half that saw neither team lead by more than six points. Denver shot 59.5 per cent in the first half, led by Lawson's 7 for 9 for 16 points. The Suns shot 54 per cent in the first half, with Gortat going 6 for 9 for 14 points.

Frye sustained a subluxed right shoulder when he went up for a rebound with 4:33 left in the first half. The Suns' starting power forward, who leads the team with 91 3-pointers, missed nearly two weeks after dislocating the same shoulder late last season.

Notes: Nash, with 9,897 assists, trails only Magic Johnson (10,141), Mark Jackson (10,334), Jason Kidd (11,830 and counting) and John Stockton (15,806). ... The Nuggets won the season series 3-0. ... The Suns' Robin Lopez, ejected for a "flagrant 2" foul in the victory over the Clippers on Thursday, drew a technical from referee Rodney Mott with 6:09 left in the first half.

Ty Lawson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

zoom

(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


Big Tour

A Historic Event

It was Canada's night at the NBA Draft as four players from north of the border were selected.


1. Andrew Wiggins - Cavaliers

8. Nik Stauskas - Kings

18. Tyler Ennis - Suns

45. Dwight Powell - Hornets


2014 NBA Draft Tracker

Social Media
twitter icon

Follow the Raptors and Raptor play-by-play man Matt Devlin on Twitter! Check out the latest Tweets!

Podcasts

TSN 1050: 1On1 With Will & Duane - Aug 10th 2014

Love-Wiggins done deal? KD: The Real Reasons, what's next for USA Basketball, Becky Hammon breaks barriers & Naismith 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

TSN 1050: 1On1 With Will & Duane - August 3rd 2014

1On1 talks Paul George & what's next for NBA vs FIBA, Wiggins for Love & welcomes Washington Post's Michael Lee to talk Five Alive & the Wizards.

TSN 1050: 1On1 With Will & Duane - July 27th 2014

Will & Duane fill the lanes with new friends of the program Aggrey Sam/CSN Chicago & Tony McIntyre/CIA Bounce along with the News, Views & Truths.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television