Rockets Vs. 76ers: Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia Defense Knock Out Houston

The Houston Rockets desperately needed to beat a good Philadelphia 76ers team to keep a reasonable reach on the No. 8 seed in the West's NBA playoff picture. But Houston's offense didn't get on track in the second half, and the Rockets -- a bad defensive team -- couldn't stop Jrue Holiday or Thaddeus Young, leading to a 108-97 Sixers victory. Holiday had 24 points on 8-12 shooting and 12 assists. Young scored 22 off the bench, hitting 11 of 19 shots and picking up nine rebounds.

Houston led by three at halftime despite a horrid second quarter in terms of offense; the Rockets' defense imploded in the third quarter, giving up 32 points on 61 percent shooting. In the fourth, Houston conceded, scoring just 15 points on 26 percent shooting and allowing Philly to run away with it.

As the Memphis Grizzlies continue to dismantle (almost) everything in their path, it seems as if Houston is done. That's too bad, because this is a fun team that had no business being in the race.

In other action:

Bobcats 98, Cavaliers 97: Anthony Parker missed a runner at the buzzer to allow Charlotte to continue clinging to hope for a playoff bid. Boris Diaw had 26 points, including the winning free throw.

Pacers 111, Pistons 101: Indiana did its job, punching out the Pistons. (Not literally!)

Bucks 104, Raptors 98: Milwaukee also kept pace, though it needs a good deal of help (as in losses) from the teams in front of it.

Heat 123, Wizards 107: LeBron James scored 35 and had eight assists; Dwayne Wade scored 33 and had nine assists. I think this is some kind of Ponzi scheme! John Wall punched Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the ribs, and the refs needed 20 minutes to sort it all out.

Grizzlies 110, Warriors 91: Memphis is on some kind of rampage. Tony Allen and Mike Conley scored 41; Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis only put together 26. Curry, in particular, was awful, shooting 2-14 and giving up six turnovers.

Bulls 108, Wolves 91: Chicago dismissed Minnesota with ease, as Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 14 rebounds. Derrick Rose shot 5-14, but 4-9 from long-range.

Nuggets 104, Kings 90: Sacramento's winning streak is over! Marcus Thornton scored 27 and Tyreke Evans added 22 off the bench, and the Kings had a double-digit lead at halftime. But Denver owned the second half. Ty Lawson scored 20 to lead the charge.

Mavericks 106, Clippers 100: Dallas just edged the Clippers, with Blake Griffin hammering the Mavs for 25 points and 17 rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki had 24 of his own, and Jose Barea came up with a decisive 22 off the bench.

Thunder 116, Suns 98: Something ugly went down in Phoenix, and I'm not talking about an 18-point blowout. SB Nation Arizona reports that Zabian Dowdell was ejected with one minute left after responding to referee Ken Mauer, who reportedly had told Dowdell to "stop acting like a little b---h." Dowdell apparently said something about saying that off the court, and Aaron Brooks also chimed in, and Mauer booted them both.

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