There was only one game of consequence and, unfortunately, the Cleveland Cavaliers could not overcome the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling 102-95. While Dion Waiters helped cushion the blow of losing Kyrie Irving by dropping 30 points, that was no match for the 35-point, 11-rebound, six-assist performance of Kevin Durant. Oh, and also this dunk:
The loss evens things out with the Pistons, who retain the No. 8 lottery position by mere percentage points. On to today's slate!
Detroit at Phoenix
Detroit on the road? Check. Detroit against the West? Check. Andre Drummond out? Check. A loss is so logical that it makes me fear that the Pistons will somehow manage to pull one out as Josh Smith responds to his ejection against the Nuggets with one of his inexplicable 30+ point outburst where he makes every outside shot he shouldn't be taking. But that's just the pessimist in me talking.
Root for: Phoenix
New York at Philadelphia
The Sixers have to win at some point, right? and the Knicks are on such a tear that I'm starting to get more worried about the prospect of the New Orleans Pelicans contending with the Pistons for lottery positioning. Then again, if Philadelphia does lose tonight then their best shot at snapping their streak will be March 29 against the Pistons at home when their skid will have reached 26 straight.
Root for: Philadelphia?
New Orleans at Atlanta
The Hawks have certainly seemed to right their ship after looking like perhaps the worst team in the NBA for the better part of a month. They are 5-5 in the past 10 with just a -0.5 differential. New Orleans, meanwhile, have a tough schedule out West and are only two games up on Detroit. A Pelicans win tonight would be awfully nice.
Root for: New Orleans
Boston at Brooklyn
This is a winnable game for Boston, and wins need to start happening for the Celtics. Boston currently sits three games in front of the Pistons and are in sixth place in lottery positioning. The good news, if you can call it that, is that even if the Celtics lose tonight they are hitting a really soft part of their schedule. They play a home-and-home against the Raptors, a home-and-home against the Bulls, but then have the Wizards, Sixers, Pistons, Hawks, Bobcats, Cavaliers, Sixers and Wizards to close out the year. The only question -- will they get orders from on high to officially tank some of those games?
Root for: Boston
San Antonio at Sacramento
It seems as if the Spurs are in the Tank Watch every day, feasting on some poor, unfortunate team. And I am running out of ways to admit that a Spurs loss is nearly impossible but I'm rooting for it anyway. That being said, I am REALLY rooting for a Spurs loss tonight because a Pistons loss and Kings win would separate the two teams by only a half a game.
Root for: Kings
Washington at LA Lakers
The Lakers seem much more pitiful than the Boston Celtics and yet they are both 29 games behind the league-leading Spurs. Odd. Anyway, this game is at the Staples Center, Phil Jackson just spurned the franchise to take on the ultimate challenge in New York, and I'm going out on a limb and predicting a Lakers victory. Don't make me look like a fool, D'Antoni.
Root for: Lakers