It is becoming tougher and tougher for the aging Boston Celtics to play well on consecutive nights. It is especially true when they play on the road the night after scoring a victory at home.
After a fast start Saturday night in New York, the tiring Celtics scored only 63 points in the last three quarters and lost to the lowly Knicks, 106-98. Friday night, the Celtics, at home, had to go all-out to beat Washington.
With Larry Bird getting 9 of his 20 points in the first quarter, the Celtics built a 35-27 lead. Then, the young legs of the Knicks gradually wore down the Celtics.
Rookie Mark Jackson, tying his career high with 22 points, also had 14 assists in directing the Knicks to their first win in four meetings with Bird & Co. this season.
The Celtics led by two at halftime and quickly stretched the margin to 59-53 after the intermission rest. It was not until Patrick Ewing, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds, banked in a shot with 3:18 left that the Knicks took over for good, 93-91.
It was the Knicks' 11th win in 32 games this season. Almost their only bright spot has been Jackson, the 6-3 playmaker from Brooklyn. Jackson, a New York favorite at St. John's, has been averaging almost 10 assists and 11 points.
"Even in my dreams," Jackson said, "I didn't see myself leading the Knicks to a victory over the Celtics."
The Celtics had won 4 in a row and 11 out of 12, but they have been winning without help from the bench. Friday night, the reserves, while playing 43 minutes, scored 14 points. In this one, they played 41 minutes and scored only 6 points.
Atlanta 113, Denver 105--In probably the most impressive performance of his three-year professional career, 7-footer Jon Koncak came off the bench at Atlanta to lead the Hawks to the eighth victory in their last nine games.
Koncak, who has a career average of 6.9 points per game, scored a career-high 25 points and had 12 rebounds in 33 minutes. He was 9 for 10 from the field.
Dominique Wilkins, who scored 33 points, had 6 points and Koncak 4 in a 16-2 spurt in the second quarter, then reversed the totals in a 15-2 run in the third quarter that broke the game open.
Chicago 113, Utah 91--Michael Jordan is becoming one of the most versatile players in the NBA. Thursday night, he helped the Bulls gain a victory by shutting down high-scoring Alex English of Denver in the fourth quarter.
In this game at Chicago, the 6-7 guard reverted to what he has been doing better than anyone else for the last two seasons--scoring points.
Jordan sank 17 of 23 shots from the field and finished with 45 points as the Bulls broke open a close game in the third quarter.
Houston 104, Phoenix 96--In a superb performance at Houston, Akeem Olajuwon scored a season-high 33 points and had 16 rebounds to lead the Rockets to their seventh win in the last nine games.
Philadelphia 126, Cleveland 110--The 76ers are developing a powerful one-two punch up front. Charles Barkley had 35 points and the other forward, Cliff Robinson, had 27 at Philadelphia to lead the 76ers to their fourth victory in a row.
Dallas 115, Golden State 99--Mark Aguirre scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter at Oakland to break open a close game.
Seattle 141, San Antonio 133--Dale Ellis scored a career-high 47 points, and the SuperSonics wiped out a 12-point deficit to win their 12th straight home game.
Alvin Robertson scored 37 points for the Spurs, who built an 85-73 lead four minutes into the second half. But Ellis scored eight points in the next two minutes and, before the third quarter was over, Seattle was in front.