The Cavaliers were blowing out the Orlando Magic, winning by 22 at the half, before blowing the lead and barely holding on for a one-point win.

As expected, Isaiah Thomas had his best game in a Cavaliers uniform on Thursday, scoring 21 points with 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 3-pointers and 2 steals in 30 minutes of action. Derrick Rose also got back on the court for the first time since early November, scoring 9 points with 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot in 13 minutes off the bench.

The entire perimeter unit of the Lakers are on the injury report for Friday. Lonzo Ball (knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) are both listed as out, and Brandon Ingram (ankle) and Kyle Kuzma (finger) are listed as questionable. Players like Josh Hart, Jordan Clarkson or Tyler Ennis could be in for bigger roles. If either/both of the forwards sit, players like Larry Nance Jr. or Julius Randle could also see more action than usual.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Bengals: He’s coming off his best game of the season, and while the consensus is to temper expectations when facing the Broncos’ defense, it’s time to accept that Denver is not playing that great defensively. The Broncos have lost five straight (including at home vs. the Giants) and have surrendered at least 21 points in all of those contests. If you’re in a jam, LaFell is not a great option, but he’s starting for a decent enough offense and should be given consideration.

It was another distressing Sunday in an NFL season whose disturbance and cruelty has managed consistently to overshadow thrills and fun. The big headline was the feared loss of Carson Wentz to a torn anterior cruciate ligament for the remainder of the season. The lasting, unshakable image was Tom Savage lying prone, his hands vibrating in an involuntary fashion, before somehow reentering the game minutes later. Elsewhere, a Seattle Seahawks player attempted to climb into the stands in Jacksonville to fight a fan who had thrown a drink at him.

Underneath another serving of misery, hope for a more enjoyable future pulsed. While injuries and controversies have dominated the season, the NFL still may be partially redeemed by a showcase hinted at Sunday. The rain clouds over the season may be able to ruin anything, but right now the NFC playoffs appear to be as can’t-miss as can’t-miss could be. Barring a letdown, they are going to be great.cowboys_030

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