NBA Roundup : Hawks Defeat Bucks, 125-100, and Close In on Home-Court Advantage
The Milwaukee Bucks needed a victory Saturday night at Atlanta to have any hope of finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Assn. The team that finishes fourth gains a home-court edge in the best-of-five first-round playoff series.
In tough situations, the Bucks rely on their solid front line of Terry Cummings, Larry Krystowiak and Jack Sikma.
This time, the trio failed to deliver. With Dominique Wilkins scoring 25 points, the Hawks breezed to a 125-100 victory.
The Hawks, with four games remaining, lead the Bucks by 1 1/2 games. Moreover, they lead the season’s series, 5-0, with one game left next Wednesday night at Milwaukee. If the Hawks split their last four games, they will finish fourth.
In addition to playing Milwaukee on the road, the Hawks are at Indiana and Detroit. They play Cleveland at home.
The Bucks have five games to play--at New Jersey, Philadelphia and Charlotte--and at home against Indiana and the Hawks.
Before Cummings, their leading scorer, had a basket, the Hawks were rolling. He missed his first 11 shots and wound up with just 10 points. Among them, the front line made only 11 of 45 field-goal attempts.
The Hawks, despite the Bucks’ poor shooting, held a 53-49 lead at halftime. But Glenn Rivers, who sat out most of the first half because of foul trouble, scored nine points in a 16-2 outburst at the start of the third quarter that turned the game into a rout.
“I thought the team really came out in the second half and responded to the challenge,” Atlanta Coach Mike Fratello said.
“This wasn’t just one game,” Wilkins said. “We’ve been playing well all month.”
Cummings, who is averaging 23.5 points a game, made only three of 19 field goals.
“It was a game where everything just went wrong,” Cummings said. “We have to win the next three.”
Phoenix 137, San Antonio 91--The Suns jumped in front early and coasted to victory at Phoenix to move within a half-game of the Lakers in the battle for first place in the Pacific Division. It was the seventh consecutive win for the Suns.
Sacramento 114, Golden State 110--The Kings, called a much-improved team by Doug Moe of Denver, fought back from a 12-point deficit at Oakland to upset the Warriors.
Utah 99, Portland 95--The Jazz celebrated its earlier clinching of the Midwest Division Friday by delaying the Trail Blazers’ clinching of a playoff spot with this win at Portland.
Seattle 125. Denver 92--Xavier McDaniel scored 24 of his 27 points in the first half at Seattle, and the SuperSonics, in an impressive performance, trounced the Nuggets.
Indiana 115, Charlotte 105--Chuck Person scored 19 points in the first quarter at Indianapolis and finished with 37 to lead the Pacers to their fourth win in the last five games.