Chances of getting into the playoffs are growing slim for the Houston Rockets as they suffer a major setback, in a overtime loss against the worst team in the West, the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena 99-105. The Rockets are now a full game behind the Phoenix Suns (who won against the Clippers today, story below) and the Utah Jazz with a record of 32-31 with only three games remaining (vs Golden State, @ Miami, and vs New Orleans). While the Hornets improve to 20-43.
The Rockets were led by Goran Dragic with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. Chase Budinger added 22 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Courtney Lee scored 15. Marcus Camby added 14 points and 7 rebounds. Luis Scola added 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Hornets were led by Eric Gordon with 27 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. One-time Rockets player Carl Landry finished with a double-double 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Al-Farouq Aminu added 17 points and 8 rebounds. Marco Belinelli scored 13. Rookie Gustavo Ayon pulled down 10 rebounds with 9 points. Greivis Vasquez dished out 9 assists with 7 points.
In Indianapolis, the Indiana Pacers secure home-court advantage for the 1st round with a win against the Milwaukee Bucks who take a hit to their chances of competing in the playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 118-109. Danny Granger led the Pacers with 29 points and 5 rebounds. George Hill added 22 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. David West finished with a double-double 21 points and 14 rebounds with 7 assists. Paul George added 14 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Roy Hibbert added 12 points and 5 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa scored 10 off the bench. Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with 27 points and 5 rebounds. Mike Dunleavy Jr. added 23 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Luc Mbah a Moute finished with a double-double 16 points and 11 rebounds. Drew Gooden added 15 points and 7 rebounds. Monta Ellis added 12 points and 7 rebounds.
In Detroit, the Minnesota Timberwolves snap their 11 game losing streak with the win over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills 91-80. Nikola Pekovic led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Anthony Randolph finished with a double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds with 3 blocks. J.J. Barea also finished with a double-double 13 points and 12 assists. Michael Beasley off the bench also scored 13 points with 7 rebounds. Rookie Derrick Williams scored 11. Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Will Bynum scored 17 off the bench. Ben Gordon scored 14. Charlie Villanueva pulled down 12 rebounds.
In Miami, the Miami Heat without one member of their Big 3 Chris Bosh keep their hopes of finishing the season a top the East with a win over the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls at the American Airlines Arena 83-72. LeBron James led the Heat with a double-double 27 points and 11 rebounds with 6 assists. Dwayne Wade added 18 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Mario Chalmers scored 16. Udonis Haslem pulled down 10 rebounds. John Lucas III off the bench led the Bulls with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Joakim Noah finished with a double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds. Luol Deng scored 11. Carlos Boozer scored 10.
In Phoenix, the Phoenix Suns barge into the 8th seed with a thrilling victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the US Airways Center 93-90. Jared Dudley led the Suns with 18 points. Channing Frye added 16 points and 5 rebounds. Marcin Gortat finished with a double-double 14 points and 14 rebounds. Steve Nash and Sebastian Telfair each scored 13 points. Chris Paul led the Hornets with a double-double 19 points and 10 assists. Caron Butler added 17 points and 5 rebounds. Blake Griffin also finished with a double-double 16 points and 11 rebounds. Randy Foye scored 11.
With the Rockets loss to the Hornets, the Dallas Mavericks clinch a playoff berth in the Western Conference.
With the Bucks loss to the Pacers, the New York Knicks clinch a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.