NBA Roundup : Mavericks Beat Bullets, Give Motta 800th Win

From Times Wire Services

The Dallas Mavericks, who have had only one coach--Dick Motta--in their seven-year existence, presented Motta with his 800th NBA victory Saturday night.

Derek Harper scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, dished out 10 assists and had 5 steals to lead the Mavericks to a 114-107 win over the Washington Bullets at Landover, Md.

"This is probably my best team at Dallas," Motta said of his Mavericks, who have clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight year.

"By the end of the season, I'd like to have 810 or 811," said Motta, whose Midwest Division-leading Mavericks have 11 games left in the regular season.

"My first game coaching in ninth grade was every bit as important as this one. That year I was 9-1, and that's as important as this year," continued Motta, who spent eight years coaching high school ball and six more at Weber State before moving to the NBA in 1968.

Motta also coached Chicago for 8 seasons (1968-76) and Washington for 4 (1976-80--including the Bullets' 1977-78 NBA championship). He is third in career NBA wins behind Red Auerbach (939) and Jack Ramsay (821), coach of the Indiana Pacers.

"I took a job in the pros only so I could get a college job," Motta said. "But I found I liked pro coaching because you didn't have all the stuff that goes with coaching in college like recruiting."

Mark Aguirre scored 28 points, and Sam Perkins added 20 for Dallas, which lost its only other meeting with Washington, 118-113, in January.

Moses Malone had 26 points for the Bullets, and Jeff Malone, back in uniform after a bout with the flu, scored 22.

Detroit 121, Denver 109--Vinnie Johnson and Bill Laimbeer each scored 30 points as the Pistons came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Nuggets at Denver.

"Vinnie and I tried to carry the load," Laimbeer said. "This is the biggest win for us in quite a while.

"We had a pretty good team effort and our bench is doing what they're supposed to do. We try to do our talking on the basketball court, and I think we did tonight."

The victory moved the Pistons within 1 1/2 games of Central Division-leading Atlanta.

Denver's Alex English scored 30 points, and Lafayette Lever had 28. But English did not score in the final 10 minutes.

Laimbeer, who had a season low of four points Thursday night against the Lakers, also had 18 rebounds against Denver. Dennis Rodman had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Piston Coach Chuck Daly said: "This is a tremendous win for us, and we got a bonus with Atlanta losing. I was really shocked to see that."

Indiana 120, Atlanta 114--Chuck Person scored 29 at Atlanta as the Pacers broke the Hawks' nine-game home winning streak.

The Hawks lost for only the sixth time in 36 home games this season. The last team to beat Atlanta at the Omni was Indiana, 107-105, on Feb. 20.

The Pacers got 22 points from Clint Richardson, while Herb Williams and Kyle Macy added 14 each.

Dominique Wilkins, playing with a leg injury, was held to 10 points in the first half but finished with 29. Kevin Willis got 24 for the Hawks, including 10 in the last 3:07 to keep Atlanta close. Guard Glenn (Doc) Rivers had 15 points and 15 assists.

Golden State 116, Utah 110--Chris Mullin hit a jump shot with 4:09 left at Oakland to put the Warriors ahead to stay and send them to their fifth straight victory.

The victory moved the Warriors past Houston and into fifth place in the Western Conference. The Warriors have not reached the playoffs in 10 years but are virtually certain to clinch one of the conference's eight berths this season.

Karl Malone scored 25 points for the Jazz.

Larry Smith had 14 points and 24 rebounds for the Warriors, and Joe Barry Carroll scored 21 points.

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