Four of the five teams fighting for their playoff lives in the Western Conference were in action on Monday. All four won. The Utah Jazz had the fortune of drawing a lay-down game from the San Antonio Spurs. The Denver Nuggets weren't too different, drawing the Golden State Warriors, who have effectively laid down for the season. Denver won 123-84 as rookie Kenneth Faried cranked out 27 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes.
The other two clubs in the chase had tougher tasks. The Houston Rockets faced the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden, and came away with a hard-fought 94-89 win to cap a 4-0 road trip. Goran Dragic led the way with 22 points and seven assists, and Kyle Lowry played 23 minutes in his second game back from a bacterial infection.
The Phoenix Suns also picked up a win, blasting the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-90. Rookie Markieff Morris had 21 points off the bench, and was the only Sun who played at least 30 minutes. Kevin Love finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds, but the Wolves lost every single quarter and the game wasn't competitive late.
Here's a look at the rest of the action.
Magic 119, Pistons 89: Dwight Howard sat, but Jason Richardson (22 points on 7-10 shooting) and J.J. Redick (20 on 7-10) just killed Detroit en route to a powerful win. J-Rich and J.J. combined to shoot 10-14 on three-pointers. Greg Monroe couldn't take advantage of Dwight's absence, scoring just nine points on 2-6 shooting.
For all of Monday's NBA box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.