NBA Playoffs Roundup : Dr. J Turns Back Clock as 76ers Beat Bullets

Julius Erving reached back for some oldtime brilliance Tuesday night at Landover, Md., and rallied the Philadelphia 76ers to a 91-86 victory over the Washington Bullets. The 76ers have a 2-1 lead and need only one more win to reach the second round.

It appeared, halfway through the third quarter, that the 76ers would be the team on the brink of elimination. The Bullets, shooting 54% from the field in the first half to lead, 53-44, stretched the margin to 67-54.

It was here that Erving, who missed three consecutive free throws in the closing seconds of the Bullets’ amazing come-from-behind victory in Game 1, took charge.

Erving scored 8 of his 22 points in a 33-10 run that began in the third quarter and ended with the 76ers in command, 87-77. The Bullets did not have another run in them.


The Bullets’ objective was to stop burly Charles Barkley and they succeeded. Barkley, largely responsible for the 76ers grabbing 41 more rebounds than Washington in the first two games, had a quiet night--for him. He had only 13 points and 14 rebounds.

“With Charles not having his usual night, I needed to score and I was able to do it,” Erving told United Press International. “I felt very confident. With them double-teaming Charles it left other guys open for us.”

Erving, who was 8 for 28 in the first two games, was 8 for 17 in this one. The 36-year-old Erving, who is closing out his spectacular career as a guard, also had six rebounds and six assists.

In the drive that turned the game around, he had help from Sedale Threatt with 10 points and Maurice Cheeks with eight.


The 76ers can close out the best-of-five series with a win at Landover Thursday night.

Houston 113, Sacramento 98--So much for the Tuesday night jinx at Sacramento. On 11 Tuesday nights during the regular season, the Kings won at home.

But the Rockets, who think they can beat the Lakers and reach the NBA championship round, weren’t worrying about any jinx.

Ralph Sampson and Lewis Lloyd each scored 25 points and the Rockets swept the series, 3-0, to advance to the second round.


Detroit 106, Atlanta 97--The Pistons escaped a sweep in this game at Pontiac, Mich., as Kelly Tripucka not only scored 33 points but also held Dominique Wilkins to 21.

Ailing Isiah Thomas, although he did not have one of his outstanding games, came through in the clutch. Thomas, playing despite an ulcerated bladder, made a basket and two free throws early in the fourth quarter to stop a late Atlanta rally.

In the first two games, Wilkins outscored Tripucka, 78-30. He had a 50-point performance in the second game.

But Tripucka started scoring early and the Pistons led all the way to cut Atlanta’s series lead to 2-1. The fourth game will be Thursday night at Pontiac.


Milwaukee 118, New Jersey 113--The Bucks spotted the Nets a 19-point lead in the first half at East Rutherford, N.J., then stormed back to sweep the Nets out of the playoffs, 3-0.

The Bucks made runs of 15-4 and 17-9 in the third quarter to pull close. A three-point play by Paul Pressey with 2:28 left gave the Bucks the lead, 112-110.

The Nets lost all chance when they made only three of eight free throws in the last two minutes.

Denver 115, Portland 104--Rookie 7-footer Blair Rasmussen, who averaged three points per game during the regular season, scored a career-high 26 at Portland and the Nuggets took a 2-1 lead in the series.


The Nuggets built a 12-point lead in the third quarter, but lost it. A steal and layup by Terry Porter tied the game at 91-91 with five minutes left.

Rasmussen sank a 12-footer, was fouled and sank the free throw and the Nuggets were rolling again.