NBA Roundup : Jordan Gets an Oscar as Bulls Beat New Jersey
The fabulous Oscar Robertson, in his second season in the National Basketball Assn., averaged a triple-double a game.
That was during the 1961-62 season when pro basketball was not yet recognized as a major sport and long before anyone came up with the idea of a triple-double.
A 6-foot-5 guard, the Big O, as he was known, averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. He also averaged 44.4 minutes and when he was in the game, he handled the basketball all the time.
Perhaps if he sets his mind to it, Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls could match Robertson’s feat.
Jordan, who has been the Bulls’ point guard for the last 13 games, had his fifth consecutive triple-double Sunday at Chicago to lead the Bulls to a 106-95 victory over outmanned New Jersey.
The 6-foot-6 guard had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Bulls to their 10th victory in the last 12 games. The Nets have lost 12 straight and 13 of 14 away from home.
There is no intention here of disparaging Robertson’s achievement, but it couldn’t happen in the fast-paced game of today. Also, the rebounds aren’t available because shooters are so much better than they were in those days.
At first, Jordan was not happy moving from shooting guard. He made the move because the Bulls needed a playmaker. Now, he’s beginning to like the idea.
“I have to admit that my playing career could be extended,” Jordan said. “I’m still learning the position. The key is I can go back and help out instead of being posted down low.”
Coach Doug Collins said it would be up to Jordan if he stays at point guard. He did point out that Jordan can pace himself better, is less likely to get hurt and doesn’t have to cut and break for the basket as much.
Coach Willis Reed of the Nets said, “It is becoming apparent these guys just don’t want to play.”
Cleveland 117, Boston 100--Robert Parish, despite a severely bruised knee, made the first three baskets at Richfield, Ohio. He knew it was nothing to get excited about.
The Cavaliers’ younger, healthier big man, Brad Daugherty wasn’t even warm yet. Daugherty proceeded to score 20 of Cleveland’s first 33 points and made 10 consecutive shots before finally missing as the Cavaliers build a commanding 65-51 halftime lead.
Ron Harper took charge in the second half. Harper, faster and quicker than all the Celtics, had 13 of his 28 points in the first six minutes of the third quarter.
The Celtics, 8-26 on the road, fell three back of Philadelphia in the fight for seventh place in the East and the right to avoid Detroit in the first round of the playoffs. It was the start of a four-game trip. The Celtics are three games ahead of Washington in the battle for the final playoff spot with 11 games left.
Parish, obviously bothered by the knee, wound up with only 10 points, and on defense had no chance against Daugherty.
However, a few days off did wonders for Kevin McHale and his sore feet. He came off the bench to score 34 points in 33 minutes. In his two games since his brief rest, he has 64 points.
Apparently, the Celtics will have to go without their best player, Larry Bird, who has missed most of the season because of operations on both Achilles tendons. He hasn’t worked out in three weeks and reportedly may need more surgery.
Philadelphia 108, Houston 99--The Rockets have not won at Philadelphia in 15 years. If they keep playing the way they did in this one, it will be at least that long again before they win.
After a decent first quarter, the Rockets collapsed, and Charles Barkley and Hersey Hawkins shot them down. Except for Otis Thorpe, who had a career high 37 points, the Rockets couldn’t compete.
While Houston center Akeem Olajuwon was scoring a season low 10 points, Barkley had 26 points and Hawkins scored 23 for the 76ers, who built a 62-47 halftime lead and coasted.
The loss dropped the Rockets into a tie with Denver for second place in the Midwest Division.
Dallas 98, Miami 96--Every game is a bitter, tough struggle, but the crippled Mavericks are gamely trying to win the last playoff spot in the West.
Adrian Dantley banked in a 20-footer as time ran out at Miami to give the Mavericks the victory and put them half a game behind Portland.
The Mavericks lost their sixth man Roy Tarpley because of a drug problem, 7-foot-2 James Donaldson because of an injury and traded away Mark Aguirre.
Washington 120, Golden State 103--Although they did not play well and shot only 44% from the field, the Bullets’ slim chance to make the playoffs improved with the win at Landover, Md.
The Bullets kept alive their hopes because the Warriors played even worse. They shot only 41.4%, rebounded poorly and had 21 turnovers.
Darrell Walker, with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, barely missed a triple-double for the Bullets.
Atlanta 132, Indiana 109--The Hawks led, 61-56, at halftime at Indianapolis, before scoring on 11 of their first 12 possessions in the second half to turn the game into a rout.
Dominique Wilkins scored 19 of his 23 points after intermission and three other Hawks had more than 20 points.