NBA Roundup : Utah Hands Houston First Defeat at Home

Just when the Houston Rockets thought they might have a chance to win every home game this season, their bubble burst.

The Utah Jazz, playing without the league scoring leader, Adrian Dantley, overcame a seven-point deficit in the last 5 1/2 minutes Tuesday night and beat the Rockets, 105-102, to end the Rockets' unbeaten string at home at 20 games.

With Dantley healthy, the Jazz had lost two previous games at The Summit. Dantley is out with a hip injury.

In a game in which tempers flared several times, the Rockets led, 96-89. But Karl Malone, who finished with 29 points, and Pace Mannion scored seven points between them to tie the score at 96-96.

Then, Rickey Green came off the bench to hit a basket and two free throws in the last nine seconds to give the Jazz the victory.

After the Jazz ended a five-game losing streak Sunday night with a victory at San Antonio, forward Thurl Bailey, Dantley's replacement, said: "We broke our losing streak tonight, and we plan on breaking Houston's winning streak Tuesday night."

The Rockets' Jim Petersen was ejected from the game in the second quarter for punching Malone. In the third quarter, Akeem Olajuwon of the Rockets punched Malone, but was not thrown out of the game.

Washington 117, Chicago 113--There was a "big" fight in this game at Chicago, too. Manute Bol, 7-7, of the Bullets, and Jawann Oldham, only 7-2, traded punches in the last minute.

The two giants fought for control of a rebound and started throwing punches. Both were ejected. As Bol was leaving the floor, Oldham went after him and landed two more blows before he was stopped. Neither combatant was injured.

The Bulls held a 98-87 lead in the fourth quarter when newly acquired Leon Wood came off the bench to score his team's next 16 points. Then, Jeff Malone scored eight in a row and the Bullets pulled out the victory. Wood finished with a career-high 22 points.

Philadelphia 123, New Jersey 105--A month ago everyone was feeling sorry for the aging Philadelphia 76ers and first-year coach Matt Guokas.

They had split their first 24 games, they were hampered by injuries and their bench was weak.

Nobody is feeling sorry for the 76ers now. They are the league's hottest team. This win at East Rutherford, N.J., was their fifth in a row and 13th in their last 14 games.

Charles Barkley scored 6 of his 19 points in a 12-1 spurt that broke open a tight game late in the third quarter and gave the 76ers a 15-point lead. The Nets, who made 36 turnovers, never got close again.

Portland 120, Cleveland 108--The best place to play the Cavaliers is at Richfield, Ohio. The Cavaliers have the worst home record in the NBA.

The Cavaliers' record at home fell to 8-12 in this game when Kiki Vandeweghe scored 28 points and Jerome Kersey came off the bench to score 10 points in a 3:20 span of the second quarter.

"We're not a confident team right now," Coach George Karl of the Cavaliers said. "We're not confident in each other, and that's why we haven't done well in this building (Richfield Coliseum)."

Atlanta 115, Sacramento 104--Dominique Wilkins scored 25 points and had 15 rebounds at Atlanta to lead the Hawks to an easy victory over the weary Kings.

The Kings were playing their fifth game on the road in seven nights, but they were even, 75-75, with 2:20 left in the third period. A Wilkins jumper 23 seconds later put the Hawks ahead to stay.

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