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NBA Roundup : Even Without Thomas, Pistons Just Too Tough for Bullets

From Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons face the prospect of opening the playoffs without floor leader Isiah Thomas. That’s not such a frightening thought if they continue to play the way they did Monday night.

Bill Laimbeer had 27 points and 11 rebounds, Joe Dumars had 21 points and 11 assists and Vinnie Johnson also had 21 points as the Pistons won their fourth straight--the second without the injured Thomas--by trouncing the Washington Bullets, 124-100, at Landover, Md.

The Pistons, who have won 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 23, opened a three-game lead over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers in the Central Division.

Washington lost at home for the second time in as many days after winning five straight overall and 15 in a row at the Capital Centre. The Bullets fell 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

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Detroit dominated the game except for the opening minutes. The Pistons missed four of their first five shots, then made 12 of 15 to open a 35-21 lead in the first quarter.

In the second period, Detroit stretched the lead to 19 points and, after the Bullets trimmed the margin to 10, pulled away again to lead, 57-40, at halftime.

It got no better for the Bullets in the second half. The Pistons opened a 73-49 lead with 7:16 left in the third quarter and were in front, 85-59, with 2:05 remaining.

Detroit, which shot 56% in the first half, made 12 of 19 (63%) in the third period. The Bullets’ starting lineup totaled only 31 points in the game on 14-of-36 shooting (39%). Only two starters played more than 17 minutes.

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Atlanta 112, Charlotte 105--Glenn Rivers hit two jumpers, including a three-pointer, to lead the Hawks on a 17-6 run in the final five minutes that sent the Hornets’ to their 11th consecutive loss at home.

The Hawks led by 13 points in the third quarter but allowed the Hornets to get back into the game by missing 13 consecutive shots and six of 12 free throws.

Rivers, who scored 19 points, broke the shooting drought with a jumper with 6:25 left in the game. Dominique Wilkins, who scored 22 points, added two of his five second-half points on an inside shot.

Moses Malone followed Rivers’ two jumpers with a fadeaway in the lane, and the Hawks then hit 10 of 12 free throws.

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Boston 113, New Jersey 112--Kevin McHale’s rebound and layup with seven seconds left at Boston gave the Celtics the victory over the Nets.

Chris Morris, who led the Nets with 19 points, missed a shot with 16 seconds left. The Celtics’ Robert Parish, who had 29 points and 13 rebounds, got the rebound and started a fast break.

Brian Shaw missed a 15-footer but McHale, who had 24 points, got his only offensive rebound of the game and made the basket that gave Boston its 13th consecutive home victory and handed New Jersey its 14th straight road loss.

New Jersey immediately called timeout, but Lester Conner’s three-point shot was long at the buzzer.

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Conner and Roy Hinson had 17 points each for New Jersey. Dennis Johnson had 12 assists for Boston, giving him 5,010 for his career.

New Jersey led, 90-88, after three quarters and 98-92 with 8:48 left. An eight-point run put Boston ahead, 100-98, but Conner’s two free throws tied the game with 5:58 left.

Seattle 102, San Antonio 89--Dale Ellis scored 28 points and Xavier McDaniel added 26 as the SuperSonics clinched a playoff berth by beating the Spurs at Seattle.

Willie Anderson had 22 points and Vernon Maxwell added 15 for the Spurs, who have lost eight of their last 11 games.

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Ellis had eight points to trigger a 13-2 Seattle run late in the third quarter that gave the Sonics an 85-71 lead.

San Antonio trimmed the deficit to eight early in the fourth period, but Seattle took control with an 11-0 run over a 5:18 stretch.

Indiana 110, Dallas 103--Reggie Miller scored 25 points, including a three-pointer with 4:20 remaining that gave the Pacers the lead for good at Dallas.

The Mavericks, trailing, 89-73, early in the fourth quarter, went on a 19-2 run and took a 92-91 lead with 4:47 left on two free throws by Adrian Dantley, who led Dallas with 26 points.

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But Miller drilled his three-pointer for a 94-92 Indiana lead and former Maverick Detlef Schrempf’s basket with 2:58 left made it 96-92.

Schrempf had 20 points for Indiana, which converted all 12 free-throw attempts in the final 2:20.

Dallas fell 2 1/2 games behind Portland in the race for the NBA’s eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Sacramento 108, Miami 69--Kenny Smith scored 23 points, Vinny Del Negro added 20 and Wayman Tisdale had 18 as the Kings routed the Heat at Sacramento, piling up the second-largest victory margin in the history of the franchise.

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The 39-point margin was five fewer than a 146-102 victory over Denver on Dec. 22, 1983.

Rony Seikaly scored 18 points for Miami.

Miami’s 69 points were four more than their record low of 65 against Boston last Nov. 15. The fewest points scored by a King opponent was 68 by Detroit in March, 1981.

The Kings’ biggest lead, 97-48, came with 9:45 left after Jim Petersen scored six consecutive points. Miami had only 48 points at the time and trailed by 49.

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Sacramento led, 25-23, after one period but used a 20-2 spurt in the first eight minutes of the second quarter to build a lead 45-25 lead with 3:59 left in the half.

Smith scored 13 points in one stretch of the quarter, including an 18-foot jumper that made it 59-35 with 39 seconds left in the half. Miami had a five-minute scoreless span.

Sacramento opened the third period with a 14-2 burst.


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