Above The Rim: Young Man, Going Off.

Suns 121, Pacers 117 – The Suns needed every one of Amare Stoudemire’s 42 points as the Pacers had come back from a halftime deficit of 12 in order to take the lead. Phoenix made its move in the last few minutes, helped by 18 points and 17 assists from Steve Nash, and a missed three by Danny Granger late sealed the victory.

Lakers 116, Timberwolves 95 – Worth noting: you probably don’t need Kobe at full strength to take out the miserable Wolves this season. KB had the flu, shook it off, and 13 of his 20 points came in the first quarter.  Trevor Ariza chipped in 15, and the lead was so high that Kobe didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

Bucks 87, Clippers 78 – It’s going to be tough for the Clippers as long as Elton Brand is out. They got out to a double-digit lead in the 2nd quarter only to give it up later, as Michael Redd led a scoring barrage in the 4th quarter to pull it out at the Staples Center.

Pistons 106, Hawks 95 – Detroit had a 25 point lead going into the fourth quarter. Trotting out seven players in double figures will get you that. 10 blocked shots and domination of the offensive boards also helps, as well as keeping Joe Johnson to five points.

Kings 117, Jazz 107 – As if Sacramento doesn’t have enough problems with no Mike Bibby and a rookie coach: leading scorer Kevin Martin went down in the third quarter with an injury.  John Salmons scored 13 straight for the Kings in the victory, but it doesn’t look good if he’s the only King who scores in a 7.5 minute time period.  Deron Williams had 30, Carlos Boozer had 19 and 11 boards.

Nets 100, Cavaliers 79 – Cleveland will be happy to get Anderson Varejao back soon with LeBron still out and nursing a sprained finger.  Richard Jefferson bombed them for 36 and Vince Carter added 19.

Photo: AP/Michael Conroy

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