It's one exciting game after another these days for the Denver Nuggets and underpaid Mike Evans is always the man on the spot.
Evans, the veteran backup guard who is playing for $65,000 this season, sank an 18-foot jumper with 44 seconds remaining in the second overtime Tuesday night at Denver to give the Nuggets a 133-131 victory over the Houston Rockets. The victory put the surging Nuggets 4 1/2 games in front in the Midwest Division.
It was also the third consecutive wild finish involving the Nuggets. Friday night at Dallas, the Nuggets trailed by 23 points in the third quarter. Evans, who scored a career-high 38 points, led the rally that led to the Nuggets' 141-140 win in overtime.
The next night at Denver, Milwaukee had a nine-point lead with three minutes to play, but Evans scored half the points in a 10-0 burst that brought the Nuggets a 123-122 victory.
The Rockets needed a win in this one to make a race out of it. With Ralph Sampson, Akeem Olajuwon and Rodney McCray leading the way, they dominated the first half, twice building 14-point leads.
The Nuggets seem to disdain such handicaps. Calvin Natt, who had 37 points and 15 rebounds and Alex English, with 39 points, led their rally.
The Nuggets actually moved ahead in the last quarter, but a tipin by McCray at the final buzzer tied the score at 117-117 and sent it into overtime. Evans made one of two free throw attempts with 30 seconds left in the first overtime to tie it, 123-123.
In the second overtime English made two jumpers to help Denver jump out to a 131-124 lead with 2:43 left. The dogged Rockets fought back and forged a tie on two free throws by Olajuwon with one minute remaining.
After Evans' game-winner, Houston missed a shot and then let the Nuggets run out the last 22 seconds without fouling them.
Evans is in a contract hassle with the Nuggets. They recently gave him a bonus, but the longer they wait to give him a new contract, the more it is likely to cost them.
Boston 110, New York 102--People were wondering what Kevin McHale would do for an encore after the 6-10 forward broke the Celtics' scoring record Sunday.
For an encore, in this game at New York, McHale proved his 56-point performance was not a fluke. After making 9 of 10 shots in the first half and scoring 27 points, McHale coasted in with 42 points.
McHale, once again taking advantage of an opponent missing their big men, sank 15 of 21 shots from the field to give him 37 of 49 in the two games.
Despite McHale's second sensational performance and another triple double for Larry Bird (20 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists), Coach K.C. Jones was forced to use all five starters at least 40 minutes against the crippled Knicks.
The Knicks, who have been without their two centers, Bill Cartwright and Marvin Webster, all season, have lost their other two experienced big men, 6-9 1/2 Pat Cummings and 6-9 James Bailey, also with injuries.
They started out with Louis Orr, two inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than McHale, trying to guard the Celtics' new scoring machine. Orr sprained an ankle in the second period and the job fell to Eddie Wilkins, a 6-10 rookie with just 500 minutes NBA experience.
Bernard King, the league's leading scorer, kept the Knicks in the game with 38 points.
Kansas City 134, New Jersey 113--The Nets, thinking about overhauling the Detroit Pistons and getting a homecourt advantage, forgot they have to do the job on the court.
In this game at Kansas City, the Nets fell behind early and never made a run at the lowly Kings. In ending the Nets' four-game winning streak, the Kings dominated from the start.
The domination was provided by center LaSalle Thompson. He scored a season-high 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Chicago 104, Washington 99--Throughout his young basketball career Michael Jordan has played mostly on winners. The Bulls went into this game at Chicago having won only three of their previous 14 games.
So Jordan took things into his own hands. He scored 37 points, had 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
It also helped that the Bullets, who led at halftime, 64-49, made only 11 of 46 shots from the field in the second half.
Dallas 108, Indiana 102--Rolando Blackman scored seven points in the final minute at Dallas to put an end to the Mavericks' three-game losing streak.
The Mavericks built a big early lead, but the Pacers battled back to cut the deficit to 101-100 before Blackman, who finished with 27 points, took charge.
Milwaukee 102, Seattle 87--Kevin Grevey, once one of the league's most prolific scorers, reached back a decade for a big second period at Milwaukee.
Grevey scored 14 points in the second quarter and help the Bucks open a 50-24 lead.
Portland 100, Atlanta 91--Kiki Vandeweghe, who has battled injuries most of the season, scored 28 points, including a three-point play that gave the Trail Blazers the lead for good with 2:10. It was an Atlanta home game at New Orleans and drew only 2,822.