NBA Roundup : Cummings Out; Bucks Fall to Pistons, 115-105
Competition is so keen in the Central Division of the National Basketball Assn. that injuries often decide games.
The Milwaukee Bucks were missing their leading scorer, Terry Cummings, because of a back problem Wednesday night at Pontiac, Mich., and couldn’t handle Adrian Dantley and the Detroit Pistons.
Dantley scored 7 of his 25 points during an 11-2 spurt in the third quarter that sent the Pistons on their way to a 115-105 victory. Each team has a 9-5 record.
Randy Breuer tried to carry the scoring load himself, and the 7-foot 3-inch center almost succeeded. Breuer scored 22 points, one below his career game average, in the first half and finished with 33. He also blocked 4 shots and had 11 rebounds.
In addition to being without Cummings, the Bucks lost his replacement, Larry Krystkowiak, with an ankle injury before the game was seven minutes old.
“This was a big game for us,” said Detroit’s Bill Laimbeer, who had 24 points and 16 rebounds. “We were tired after the tough game last night in New Jersey, but we weren’t about to give in.”
Coach Del Harris of the Bucks commended Breuer, a surprise new star. “He seems to just keep picking up confidence,” Harris said. “He’s got a fine shooting touch. I was just as impressed with his defense and shot-blocking as his offense.”
Boston 130, New Jersey 99--Kevin McHale missed the first month of the season while his broken foot healed. It took the brilliant forward just two games to reach midseason form.
In his first start of the season in this game at Boston, McHale scored 23 points in 32 minutes to play a prominent part in the romp.
Larry Bird scored 34 points, including 6 for 6 from the line. Bird has made 59 free throws in a row to break Bill Sharman’s club record. If he makes 20 more, he’ll break Calvin Murphy’s league record.
McHale, who came off the bench Tuesday night at Atlanta in his first game of the season to score 22 points in 22 minutes, has made 16 of his 24 shots.
As has been the case for the last two seasons, the Celtics played brilliantly at home after a poor showing on the road. They were in command throughout against the injury-plagued Nets, who are 0-6 on the road.
Chicago 105, Utah 101--Almost always after an off night, Michael Jordan comes back with a superlative effort.
So, when Jordan scored only 16 points Tuesday night against the Warriors, the Jazz probably figured they were in trouble in this game at Salt Lake City.
They were. Jordan scored a season-high 47 points, and the surprising Bulls improved their record to 11-3. Jordan, after bringing the Bulls from a 60-52 deficit in the third quarter, sank five free throws in the last two minutes to give the Bulls an 8-1 road record.
San Antonio 97, Houston 93--Guards Alvin Robertson and Johnny Dawkins tore the Rockets apart in the fourth quarter at San Antonio as the Spurs overcame a 12-point deficit to win.
Ralph Sampson and Akeem Olajuwon led the Rockets to an 80-68 lead after three quarters, but the Rockets managed only 13 points in the last 12 minutes.
Cleveland 104, Seattle 102--The Cavaliers held a 15-point lead with seven minutes remaining at Richfield, Ohio, then barely withstood a furious rally by the SuperSonics.
Dale Ellis scored six points in a late spurt that cut the lead to 100-98 with 1:50 left. But Craig Ehlo sank a 17-foot jumper, and Brad Daugherty hit two free throws to clinch the victory.
Indiana 108, Washington 102--Wayman Tisdale scored 4 of his 22 points in the closing minutes at Indianapolis as the Pacers withstood a Bullet rally to improve their record to 9-6.
Jeff Malone led a rally that cut a 14-point deficit to 91-88, but Tisdale regained the momentum for the Pacers.
Denver 147, Sacramento 120--The Nuggets usually punish tired teams. The Kings arrived at Denver after a tough game Tuesday night against the Lakers.
Alex English, with 18 points, and Fat Lever, with 21, led the Nuggets to a 27-point lead after three quarters, then retired.