The seventh consecutive win over the Celtics at the Silverdome for the Pistons was a tight battle until Joe Dumars sparked a 10-0 run in the third quarter that put the Pistons ahead to stay.
The Celtics, trailing, 62-56, at halftime, moved in front, 71-70, before Dumars sank three shots in a row. In the fourth quarter, Rick Mahorn had 14 points to make it a runaway.
The crowd, which was larger than several crowds this season for the Detroit Lions' home games, was almost 10,000 more than the previous high. Last February, when Julius Erving made his last appearance with the Philadelphia 76ers, there were 52,745 fans at the Silverdome.
The Harlem Globetrotters claim the biggest attendance in basketball history--75,000 at one of their exhibitions in West Germany in 1951.
Nine of the top 10 NBA crowds have been in the Silverdome. One of the reasons is that the Pistons sell big blocks of tickets to corporations at a cut-rate price.
For this one, the crowd stretched from one football end zone almost to the other in the upper deck.
They were there hoping to see the Pistons avenge their worst defeat of the season, a 143-105 lacing at Boston Garden Jan. 13.
In the game at Boston, it was close for a half, but in the second half, the Pistons were outscored, 80-42.
Friday night, Larry Bird led all scorers with 25 points, but he had only seven in the second half and only three in the last quarter. Dennis Rodman guarded Bird in the second half and allowed the All-Star forward only five shots. Rodman scored eight points in the last quarter.
"We had some defensive lapses," Bird said. "There wasn't much movement on defense on our part. We let them penetrate to the lane and when they did miss the shot, we let them get it back and put it back in."
Teammate Isiah Thomas calls Dumars "Silent Death," and the Celtics learned why.
"Joe picks his spots," Thomas said. "His 8 or 12 points seem to mean more than twice that many points by some guys. Tonight he was the big difference."
It was a typical physical battle between the teams. Although there were no fights, there was a confrontation between Kevin McHale of the Celtics and Mahorn just before halftime. They engaged in a shoving match under the Boston basket.
Dallas 117, Seattle 109--Dale Ellis won a scoring battle with former teammate Mark Aguirre at Dallas, but the Mavericks' sharpshooter was at his best in the stretch run that won the game.
Ellis had 35 points for the SuperSonics, who lost for only the second time in the last nine games. Aguirre had 29 points, but he got 8 of them in a 12-2 spurt in the fourth quarter that broke it open.
Ellis, just a reserve with the Mavericks, has been a star for the Sonics.
"Dale was basically unstoppable," said Dallas guard Derek Harper, one of Ellis' close friends. "Dale really wants to beat us. You almost have to tackle him to stop him from scoring a basket."
Aguirre had a big game despite aggravating a groin strain during warmups.
"There was some pain," he said. "It hurts when you make different movements."
Philadelphia 94, Indiana 89--When Mike Gminski was traded by the downtrodden New Jersey Nets to the 76ers recently, he thought he had finally shed a losers image.
"I thought it would be a rebirth," he said. "I was going from a team that lost most of its games to a team good enough to win every time out."
But in the first four games he played for the injury-plagued 76ers, he thought he was back with the losers again. They lost all four.
Gminski took it upon himself to put an end to the skid in this game at Philadelphia. With the 76ers' two top scorers, Charles Barkley and Cliff Robinson, out with injuries, Gminski scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the 76ers out of their slump.
His two free throws with 54 seconds remaining clinched the 76ers' first win in five tries since Gminski joined them and ended a five-game losing streak.
"I knew eventually we would start winning," Gminski said, "but I felt it was time I did something to make it happen."
After Gminski's free throws gave Philadelphia a 94-89 lead, the Pacers missed three three-point tries, the last two by former UCLA star Reggie Miller.
Gminski played 41 minutes, blocked 6 shots and had 1 steal. He was 12 for 20 from the field.
Chicago 120, New Jersey 93--Playing the worst team in the league at Chicago, the Bulls were able to give their ace, Michael Jordan, a good rest.
Although he played only 27 minutes, Jordan, the NBA scoring leader, had 32 points and set a club record with 10 steals.
"I really wanted to go for the steal mark since I was anticipating extremely well, having been well rested the day before," Jordan said. "I really felt loose and ready to go for the record after getting four steals early."
It was the woeful Nets' 32nd loss in 40 games this season. They are 0-18 on the road, the only team in the league winless on the road.
Golden State 102, Utah 100--Chris Mullin returned after missing 51 days because of an alchol treatment program, but it was three free throws by Winston Garland in the last 14 seconds that clinched the win at Oakland.
The Warriors overcame a 15-point third-quarter deficit to win consecutive games for the first time this season.