• The NBA is tough business. One where a perennial championship calibre team falters and sits on the outside looking in with only four games remaining on the schedule.  The Houston Rockets entered Wednesday night’s game one half game back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. A win would put them in a position to potentially climb into the seventh spot.  A loss would further dampen their playoff aspirations. How did the battle of Texas end? Here is your Thursday daily dish.

    PACERS 123, CAVS 109

    The Good: Indiana pulled off a very important victory over a Cavs team playing without its key superstar. The Pacers scored an impressive 70 points in the first half.

    Paul George scored 29 points (10-of-17 shooting) with four threes and five rebounds. C.J. Miles scored 21 points (7-of-9 shooting) with six threes and three rebounds off the bench.

    For the Cavs, Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting. He also chipped in six assists and three steals. Kevin Love added 23 points in 18 minutes of action. He was 10-of-10 from the charity stripe and also grabbed five rebounds.

    The Bad: LeBron James (rest) was again held out by coach Tyronn Lue and hurt all fantasy owners playing during championship week.

    Kevin Love tweaked his back in this one and could be looking at some extended rest as the season draws to a close.

    For the Pacers, rookie Myles Turner played only five minutes in this one with no stats to his credit. X-rays after the game on his finger came back negative, but owners should keep a close eye on his status moving forward.

    The Takeaway: With the win, Indiana maintained its half game lead over Detroit for seventh place in the East. With the uncertainty of Myles Turner for the remaining two games this week, it might be time to move on from him as he’s only averaged nine points and seven rebounds over the past two weeks.

    For the Cavs, they only have one game remaining this week (April 9 vs. the Bulls). Consider having a back up plan if you have LeBron, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love on your rosters during Week 24.

     

    PISTONS 108, MAGIC 104

    The Good: Detroit “Rock City” used a strong 64-point second half performance to move within one win of clinching a playoff birth.

    Reggie Jackson came up big with a 24-4-4 line on 7-of-18 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

    Andre Drummond also played well scoring 13 points (7-of-10 from the field) with 16 rebounds and four blocks.

    For the Magic, Evan Fournier led all scorers with 19 points (7-of-15 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line).

    Nikola Vucevic continued his strong play as well scoring 15 points and adding 13 rebounds. He added two steals and one block and seems to have completely recovered from the groin injury that cost him 13 games earlier in March.

    The Bad: Marcus Morris failed to crack double digits for the second consecutive game as he scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.

    Aaron Gordon continued to frustrate his owners scoring a quiet six points on 3-of-10 shooting. He added six rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes of action. For owners who continued to hold on to Dewayne Dedmon, this is your cue to run away as he played only four minutes tonight with two rebounds and one block.

    The Takeaway: The Pistons increased their lead over ninth place Chicago to 1.5 games while also keeping up with the Pacers. With a win on Friday vs. the Wizards, the Pistons could clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.

    The Magic have two games remaining this week and seem certain to continue playing their starters meaningful minutes. Feel free to roll with Oladipo, Vucevic and Fournier for the remaining games.

     

    WIZARDS 121, NETS 103

    The Good: The Wizards won tonight and were able to prolong their minimal playoff hopes for at least one more game.

    Bradley Beal once again looked good scoring 25 points on a very efficient 11-of-15 from the field. He added three three pointers and five assists and really stepped up for the Wizards tonight.

    Ramon Sessions also played very well in a spot start for John Wall scoring 18 points and adding 13 assists.

    Marcin Gortat double doubled for the Wizards with 16 points and 12 rebounds to go along with a game high four blocks.

    For the Nets, Thomas Robinson exploded for 23 points (10-of-16 shooting) to go along with a team high 10 rebounds.

    The Bad: Owners of John Wall, Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young were understandably disappointed as neither player played in this one. (Wall sat with a sore right knee while Lopez and Young have both been shut down by the Nets for the year).

    Markieff Morris had an underwhelming line of 9-7-2 on 4-of-13 shooting.

    Bojan Bogdanovic played only 20 minutes for the Nets and scored four points with two rebounds on 2-of-12 shooting.

    The Takeaway: Owners of John Wall may have to cut ties with the all- star as he will undergo further testing on his sore right knee. Both Brooklyn and Washington have two games remaining this week and may choose to rest their starters in favour of younger bench players. Make sure to follow @HoopBallTweets on twitter for the latest updates.

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