Before taking off for summer vacation, the Chicago Bulls were frustrated in the Eastern Conference playoffs by the rugged Detroit Pistons, who later came within a basket of beating the Lakers and winning the National Basketball Assn. championship.
It was no different when the two Eastern powers met Friday night at Chicago in the opening game of the season.
Adrian Dantley and Joe Dumars led Detroit to a 107-94 victory as the Pistons took the lead late in the first quarter and coasted the rest of the way.
Although he scored 28 points and played his usual outstanding game, Michael Jordan, last year’s most valuable player, couldn’t rally his teammates.
Dantley, out to prove he’s not too old for the NBA at 32, scored 22 points, and Dumars had 20. It was the defense, though, that made Coach Chuck Daly happy.
Boston 122, New York 115--Larry Bird, who else, sank 2 free throws with 14 seconds left in regulation at Boston to send the game into overtime, and rookie Brian Shaw took charge in the extra session.
Shaw, from UC Santa Barbara, set up 4 baskets in the extra session as the Celtics took command.
Patrick Ewing, who had 4 points and 3 fouls in the first half, led a second-half surge by the Knicks that almost won the game. Before fouling out in overtime, Ewing scored 29 points.
Bird had 29 points, and Kevin McHale added 25. Robert Parish got 21 points, 22 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.
Cleveland 133, Charlotte 93--Larry Nance scored 11 points in 4 minutes during a 40-point second-quarter spurt at Charlotte, N.C., that spoiled the Hornets’ debut in the NBA.
The Hornets, cheered on by 23,388 fans, took an early lead and were tied, 26-26 after the first quarter.
Former Laker Kurt Rambis scored 16 points for the Hornets.
Atlanta 113, New Jersey 105--The Hawks, hoping to win the league championship, added Moses Malone and Reggie Theus, two proven players. But in crunch time in the season opener at East Rutherford, N.J., it was Dominique Wilkins, naturally, who took charge.
Wilkins scored 16 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, banking in an 8-footer with 2:52 left to give Atlanta the lead for good.
Seattle 104, Utah 97--The SuperSonics made 6-foot 7-inch guard Dale Ellis happy with a lucrative 6-year contract for $7.2 million, and he responded by scoring 46 points at Salt Lake City to get the Sonics off to a winning start.
However, it was 2 key baskets 40 seconds apart by Xavier McDaniel that put Seattle ahead to stay in the closing minutes. McDaniel had only 10 points.
Milwaukee 117, Indiana 103--Ricky Pierce came off the bench at Indianapolis to score 28 points and lead the Bucks to victory.
The Pacers, who have lost center Steve Stipanovich for the first 6 weeks because of surgery, started Greg Dreiling, but in 9 minutes he contributed only 1 rebound and 2 fouls.
Denver 120, Houston 117--Alex English and Fat Lever led a second-half rally at Denver that wiped out a 15-point deficit and carried the Nuggets to victory.
English wound up with 39 points, Lever with 27. Akeem Olajuwon of the Rockets also had 39 points plus 19 rebounds, but didn’t get much help.
Michael Adams of the Nuggets made a 3-pointer for the 44th game in a row.
Portland 120, Phoenix 105--Clyde Drexler scored 29 points, including 15 in the third quarter, to help the Trail Blazers beat the Suns at Portland.
Drexler hit all seven field-goal tries in the third period as the Blazers moved into an 18-point lead and rolled to their seventh straight victory over the Suns.