The Detroit Pistons looked like they weren't going to spend even 24 hours all alone in the No. 8 spot as they built up a 25-point lead over one of the East's best teams in the Indiana Pacers. To add insult to injury Andre Drummond also suffered a scary injury that could mean 1. No Drummond awesomeness 2. A bizarrely better team with its best player sidelined as both Greg Monroe and Josh Smith could then slide to their more natural positions, center and power forward, respectively. Luckily, the crisis was averted as the Pistons collapsed in a way that only the Pistons can, eventually falling in overtime 112-104.
That luck didn't spread elsewhere, however, as it would have been a great night to see the Sacramento Kings (currently No. 7 in lottery standings) beat the Chicago Bulls. It was close throughout and a one-possession game with a minute left but the Kings could never get over the hump and eventually fell. Elsewhere, the Knicks beat the Bucks, and the Hawks topped the Nuggets.
Boston at New Orleans
If the Kings aren't going to cooperate and start winning some games then the Pistons' best bet to jump from the No. 8 spot to the top seven is for the Celtics to start winning some games. Boston is currently tied with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers at 22-44 but the Celtics have the advantage of playing in the East and having by far the easiest schedule of the trio. But even if Boston loses this game it will still be somewhat beneficial to the Pistons as New Orleans is only 1.5 games in front of Detroit at the moment.
Root for: Boston
Sacramento at Minnesota
The Kings will be on the second night of a back-to-back and also be on the road. That makes a victory somewhat unlikely. But the Kings seem to match up pretty well against the Wolves. If DeMarcus Cousins can outplay or stay on pace with Kevin Love and Isaiah Thomas can totally obliterate the Wolves defense then Sacto will have a shot.
Root for: Kings
Utah at San Antonio
The Jazz are much more likely to lose by 15+ than to pull out a win in this one. But crazy things happen, I guess.
Root for: Utah
Cleveland at LA Clippers
After a rough four-game stretch that saw them lose to the Bobcats and the Knicks, the Cavs have rebounded to take down the frisky Phoenix Suns and a quality Golden State Warriors team. But now they're playing the Clippers, who look more everyday like a team that could compete for a championship. The Cavs have more tough games ahead against the Heat, Thunder and Rockets, with an easier game against the Knicks that is unfortunately on the second night of a back-to-back.
Root for: Cleveland