Scrappy, perhaps, but not yet good enough to beat the Celtics. Kevin McHale scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and Larry Bird added 22 points and his usual clutch play as the Celtics defeated the Nets, 105-95, Wednesday night at East Rutherford, N.J.
It was the Celtics' ninth straight win and their fifth in five games against the Nets this season.
The Celtics led most of the way, but when the Nets crept to within 89-82, Bird scored on a three-point play. The Nets then closed to within two, but Bird hit a basket and then assisted on another. Robert Parish added a free throw, and Boston had its 58th win of the season in 72 games.
Darryl Dawkins and Albert King scored 18 points each for the Nets.
The victory enabled the Hawks to move to within half a game of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Detroit 127, Houston 110--The Pistons clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot as John Long sparked a third-quarter rally at Detroit. Long scored 12 points in the third quarter and hit the basket that gave the Pistons the lead for good at 78-77.
Akeem Olajuwon scored 33 points, 19 in the first period, for Houston. Long led Detroit with 25 points.
San Antonio 121, Golden State 120--Mike Mitchell hit back-to-back baskets with less than a minute remaining to give the Spurs the lead at San Antonio, but it took the inept Warriors to assure their own defeat.
With three seconds left, Sleepy Floyd hit an open Jerome Whitehead with a pass under the basket, but Whitehead fumbled the ball and the Warriors' last hope.
San Antonio's George Gervin had a game-high 29 points.
Utah 116, Dallas 101--Fred Roberts came off the bench to score 12 points in the final quarter as the Jazz gave a boost to its playoff hopes with a victory at Salt Lake City.
The Jazz nursed an 86-81 lead going into the final quarter, but Roberts and Adrian Dantley, who scored eight in the period and 25 for the game, sparked Utah to the win.
Darrell Griffith had 30 points (including four three-pointers) for the Jazz.
The Mavericks' Mark Aguirre led all scorers with 33 points.
Philadelphia 115, Washington 97--Julius Erving scored 22 points, 13 of them in a third-period surge that turned this game at Philadelphia into a rout. Andrew Toney added 18 and Moses Malone 17 and 14 rebounds as the Bullets suffered their third straight loss.