NBA Roundup : High-Scoring Suns Burn the Nuggets, 126-100

For the time being, the Denver Nuggets are the highest-scoring team in the National Basketball Assn., but the Phoenix Suns are charging.

With Armon Gilliam scoring 10 of his 20 points in a 42-point first period at Phoenix Monday, the Suns breezed to a 126-100 victory over the Nuggets and moved to within 2 1/2 games of the Lakers in the Pacific Division.

Last Saturday at Denver, the much-improved Suns scored 138 points, but lost by 4. For the season, the Nuggets are averaging 121 points, the Suns 117.

Cotton Fitzsimmons’ hustling youngsters continue to be one of the season’s big surprises. The easy win over the strong Nuggets gave them a 26-15 record. A year ago at the halfway mark the Suns were a team torn by dissension and drug problems. They had a 13-28 record.


The Suns’ improvement can be attributed to two changes. First, Tom Chambers was signed as a free agent and 6-foot 9-inch rookie Tim Perry was drafted out of Temple. Chambers has been brilliant at either center or forward. Perry has moved into the starting lineup at forward, with Chambers opening at center.

Chambers had 20 points, and Perry had 19, 7 of them in an early 13-0 run that put the Suns in command.

The Suns made 16 of 21 field-goal attempts in the second quarter to build their lead to 70-49.

“The going figures to get tougher,” Fitzsimmons said. “The rest of the league now knows we are for real. They will prepare for us.

“But, we are just learning to work together. We are learning to make sacrifices. Take Tom (Chambers). He’s better at forward, but we need him at center and, although he’s only 6-10, he’s doing a job for us.”

In 3 games last week, Chambers averaged 33 points, 7 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

In this game he had 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Eddie Johnson had 26 points off the bench.

Golden State 105, Miami 98--Mitch Richmond had the Warriors’ first 10 points in the fourth quarter at Miami and wound up with 26 to lead them past the Heat.

The win ended a 6-game trip in which the Warriors went 3-3 despite 2 last-second defeats. They reached the halfway mark with a 22-19 record. A year ago they were 9-32.

The Warriors built a 16-point lead, but the Heat rallied behind Billy Thompson to make it a close game. Thompson, the former Laker, had a career-high 30 points. It was the sixth loss in a row for the Heat, which finished the first half of their first NBA season at 4-37.

Ralph Sampson, in his second game back from knee surgery, played only 7 minutes for the Warriors.

Portland 130, Charlotte 118--The Hornets, winding up a 5-game, 10-day trip, played the Trail Blazers on even terms for more than a half at Portland.

The teams were tied, 75-75, but Caldwell Jones scored all 5 of his points in a 10-0 spurt that wrapped up the Blazers’ second win in a row.

The Hornets’ only win on the trip was at Utah.

Clyde Drexler had 32 points for Portland, and Kelly Tripucka came off the bench to score 19 of his 24 points in the second quarter, when the Hornets rallied to make a game of it.