The Utah Jazz are becoming known as the Bully Boys of the West as they continue on their way to the Midwest Division title.
Unlike the original Bully Boys, the Detroit Pistons, the Jazz don’t antagonize their opponents, they just outmuscle them.
Karl Malone and 7-foot 4-inch Mark Eaton use legal methods to intimidate their foes. In the East, some coaches are saying the Pistons are getting away with illegal tactics. A championship matchup between the two would probably draw blood.
Malone had 30 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday night at Salt Lake City to lead the Jazz to a 102-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Eaton had 25 rebounds, 12 points and six blocked shots.
Their sixth victory in a row enabled the Jazz to increase their lead to 5 1/2 games. They have 19 games left, and it is going to be tough for anyone to catch them.
“They used to laugh at Mark Eaton,” Portland center Sam Bowie said. “But not any more.
“The big guy is definitely a force to be reckoned with. He creates more problems than anyone else in the league.”
Meanwhile, Bowie continues to play well since his most recent return from foot injuries. He had 13 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes.
While the Jazz are running away with the Midwest Division, the Trail Blazers are trying to stay in the battle for a playoff spot.
The Blazers and Dallas are battling for the final playoff spot in the West. The Mavericks, who have lost center James Donaldson for the season, trail the Blazers by half a game.
Golden State 113, Dallas 100--Ralph Sampson, used sparingly this season by the Warriors, came through in the clutch in the game at Oakland.
The Mavericks had cut a 14-point deficit to five points midway through the last quarter when Sampson’s two baskets triggered an 8-0 spurt that wrapped up the Warrior victory.
Chris Mullin scored 32 points, four of them in the last minute, and the Warriors improved their record to 35-27. It is the fifth-best record in the West.
After 62 games last season, the Warriors were 16-46.
Cleveland 115, Chicago 91--The Cavaliers’ recent road show was a flop, but they are still a hit at Richfield, Ohio.
In their first appearance at home since March 5, the Cavaliers took advantage of Michael Jordan’s early foul trouble to run up a 31-14 lead, then coasted.
It was only the Cavaliers’ third win in their last eight games, and they trail the Detroit Pistons by three percentage points in the Central Division.
Although Jordan wound up with 28 points in 38 minutes, he picked up two fouls in six minutes, left, and the Cavaliers went on a 17-2 run.
Mark Price, who was 1 for 11 in the loss in Utah Monday night, found his touch waiting for him at home. He was 8 for 12 to lead the Cavaliers to their 44th victory.
San Antonio 110, Milwaukee 108--In his 17th year as a coach, Larry Brown is going through the agony of a losing season for the first time.
While marking time until former Navy star David Robinson joins the Spurs next season, there have been some enjoyable moments.
Definitely, this game at San Antonio was one of them. The Bucks are trying to get into the battle for the Central Division title. This was a setback.
Willie Anderson scored 25 points and blocked Ricky Pierce’s shot at the buzzer, which would have tied the score.
The loss dropped the Bucks four games out of first place. They lost despite five three-pointers by Jack Sikma.
“Basically, the Spurs just played harder than we did,” Milwaukee Coach Del Harris said. “If they had played this hard all year, they would have a lot more than 17 wins.”
The Spurs have won four of their last six games but trail Utah by 22 1/2 games.
Philadelphia 100, New Jersey 96--The Nets built a 14-point lead in the second quarter at Philadelphia against the cold-shooting 76ers.
But they blew a four-point lead in the closing minutes to lose their fifth in a row and their eighth straight on the road.
The 76ers had only a one-point lead when Charles Barkley cast off from three-point range with 62 seconds remaining. Barkley was only two for 10, but when he sank the bomb, the Nets were done.