NBA Roundup : Milwaukee Writing Own Scenario
Most of the talk in the National Basketball Assn. these days is about the Lakers and the Boston Celtics meeting for an unprecedented third consecutive time in the championship round of the playoffs.
The Milwaukee Bucks have a chance to do something about that. With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, Don Nelson has a team that is reaching a peak at the right time.
The Bucks, playing without their best player, guard Sidney Moncrief, survived a late scare Friday night at Pontiac, Mich., and beat the Detroit Pistons, 115-108, for their fifth win in a row and 10th in their last 11 games.
The Bucks led most of the way, but successive baskets by Kelly Tripucka and Bill Laimbeer gave the Pistons a 98-97 lead with 4:43 remaining. Terry Cummings scored four of his 27 points in the next two minutes to lead a 7-0 Milwaukee surge that handed the fading Pistons their eighth loss in the last 11 games.
The Pistons welcomed back their star, Isiah Thomas, who missed three games because of a hamstring injury. He scored 24 points in 38 minutes but had only five assists. Moncrief, who usually wages a battle with Thomas, missed the game because of a sore foot.
“I am happy the way we are preparing for the playoffs,” Nelson said. “We were missing Moncrief and Charlie Davis, but we still had good success with our bench.
“In crunch time we had (Alton) Lister and (Randy) Breuer in there, and the Pistons couldn’t handle two seven-footers.”
The Bucks are 54-23, which is the third best record in the league. They will get a better idea of their playoff chances Tuesday night when they play host to the Celtics.
Boston 119, New York 98--The Celtics keep saying they aren’t interested in all the records they are breaking, but in this game at Boston they showed no mercy to the crippled Knicks.
In stretching their consecutive home winning streak to 29, the Celtics won a league-record 38th victory at home. It was the seventh loss in a row for the Knicks, who are without six players because of injuries.
It was the Celtics’ 14th straight win, high in the league this season, and kept their hopes alive for another record. The Celtics are 64-13, and by winning their last five games, they would tie the 69-13 record set by the 1971-72 Lakers.
The Knicks, who had a lineup more suited to the Continental Basketball Assn. than the NBA, fell to 22-56, worst in the league.
Washington 135, Atlanta 129--Dan Roundfield scored nine of his season-high 29 points in overtime at Landover, Md., to enable the Bullets to move within a game of New Jersey in the battle for the sixth playoff spot in the East.
Dominique Wilkins took over the NBA scoring lead by getting 46 points. The Hawk star has a 29.9 average to 29.7 for Adrian Dantley of Utah.
Wilkins scored 18 points in the fourth quarter but none in overtime. Despite the loss, the Hawks clinched the fourth position in the playoffs. That was assured by Detroit’s loss. The Hawks will have the homecourt advantage in the first round of postseason play.
Philadelphia 122, Cleveland 102--Charles Barkley dealt another blow to the Cavaliers’ hopes of sewing up a playoff spot. In this game at Philadelphia, the bulky forward had a triple double--27 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Cavaliers, who made it close through the first half, are only one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls in the drive for the final playoff berth in the East. Each team has five games remaining. The two teams meet in the last game of the season, April 13 at Richfield, Ohio.
The 76ers led by only 62-60 at halftime but had 6-0 and 7-0 runs in the third quarter to break the game open.
Houston 112, Phoenix 89--Robert Reid scored 20 points at Phoenix to help the Rockets clinch the Midwest Division title and tie the club record for most victories (49) in a season.
Larry Nance also had 20 for the Suns, who fell apart in the second half and dropped 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio in the battle for the last playoff spot in the West. The Suns have six games left, the Spurs five.
The Rockets led, 61-53, at halftime, then shot 72% in the third quarter to build a 93-73 lead.