Although they have the worst record in the history of the franchise (34-47), the San Antonio Spurs staggered into the playoffs Wednesday night.
Mike Mitchell scored 22 points at Phoenix to lead the Spurs to a 114-102 victory, only their fourth in the last 25 games.
The Suns missed the playoffs for the first time in the last nine seasons.
The Spurs, who challenged for first place in the Midwest Division early in the season, earned the dubious honor of meeting the defending NBA champion Lakers in the opening round of the playoffs next week.
The Spurs’ decline and near-fall began when playmaker Johnny Moore was lost for the season because of illness and continued when big men Artis Gilmore and Steve Johnson were hurt.
Sacramento 113, Utah 108--Adrian Dantley scored 45 points at Salt Lake City to take over the scoring lead, but it wasn’t enough to give the Jazz the victory.
Dantley improved his average to 29.99, moving ahead of Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins, who has a 29.93 average. Dantley made 16 of 27 shots and 13 of 16 free throws, but only three of his points came in the final quarter.
Otis Thorpe scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, seven in a row in the final four minutes to assure the Kings of the victory.
New Jersey 108, Boston 98--With more playing time because of the injury to Darryl Dawkins, Mike Gminski has shown steady improvement this season.
He reached a pinnacle in this game at East Rutherford, N.J. Gminski set career highs with 41 points and 22 rebounds as the Nets became the second team this season to beat the Celtics twice. Sunday, Philadelphia became the first.
The Celtics made their first six shots in the second period to build a 14-point lead. But Gminski paced the Net comeback that clinched sixth place in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey will play Philadelphia in the opening round of the playoffs.