Daily NBA Fix 3-31-14: Wasted Days, Wasted Nights For Contenders

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Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Monday, March 31, the morning after the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers took embarrassing losses while still trying to lock up playoff positions.

That’s not entirely true for the Pacers—they’ve already clinched the Central Division crown. But with a stated goal of finishing with the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers sure are doing everything the can to allow the Miami Heat to stay in the race. Before beating the Heat on Wednesday, the Pacers lost two straight. After beating the Heat on Wednesday, the Pacers have lost two straight and that three-game lead they opened after the win over Miami is down to a single game.

The only thing that could be worse for the Pacers is to have to play one of the NBA’s best while the Heat get a home game.

Gulp.

Indiana hosts the San Antonio Spurs tonight—the Spurs with the 17-game winning streak. The Heat are at home against Toronto, meaning that by this time tomorrow, the Eastern Conference could be all tied up with nine games to play for Miami and seven to go for Indiana.

The Warriors, meanwhile, added another to a list of inexplicable home losses when they fell to the New York Knicks. Golden State has now lost home games to the Knicks, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Wizards and Bobcats.

The Suns went to Los Angeles and got manhandled. Not a surprise; the Clippers have been very good this year. Except it wasn’t the Clippers that did the manhandling, it was the no-Pau Gasol, no-Kobe Bryant, no-Steve Nash, no-freaking-hope-for-much-good-to-happen Lakers.

Fortunately for the Warriors and Suns (and the idle Dallas Mavericks), the Memphis Grizzlies also lost Sunday at Portland, so the race for the last four spots out West looks a little something like this:

Place/Team Record GB Remaining Schedule
5. Portland 48-27 @LAL, PHX, NOP, SAC, @UTA, GSW, LAC
6. Golden State 45-28 @DAL, @SAS, SAC, UTA, DEN, @LAL, @POR, MIN, @DEN
7. Phoenix 44-30 LAC, @POR, OKC, @NOP, @SAS, @DAL, MEM, @SAC
8. Dallas 44-30 GSW, @LAC, @LAL, @SAC, @UTA, SAS, PHX, @MEM
9. Memphis 43-30 0.5 @DEN, @MIN, DEN, @SAS, MIA, PHI, @LAL, @PHX, DAL

The Daily NBA Fix will deliver highlights, game capsules, the top and bottom five players, the dreaded Goose Egg, Clean and Sober and Ironman awards, we’ll recap who’s circling the drain, there will be some interesting pieces of relevant (and not-so-relevant) information and we’ll look at today’s daily lines for those people who like to wager a buck or two.

Check out the highlights below from the night that was, then get into the game capsules (home teams in CAPS).

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