Larry Bird’s flirtation with at least one bit of history came to an end Tuesday night.
Bird’s consecutive free throw string ended at 71, but the veteran forward still scored 38 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 107-94 victory over the Houston Rockets at Houston.
Bird missed a free throw with 4:17 left in the third quarter, ending his string seven short of the NBA record of 78 set by Rocket guard Calvin Murphy in the 1980-81 season.
Bird said he didn’t take time to think much about the free-throw record.
“The game was really too close to think about it,” Bird said. “I just missed it. There’s no explanation.”
After his miss, Bird made his next four.
Bird made seven of his first nine shots and scored 25 points in the first half, when he didn’t shoot a free throw, giving the Celtics a 55-49 lead at intermission.
Akeem Olajuwon led the Rockets with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Otis Thorpe had 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Indiana 128, Charlotte 105--Chuck Person and Reggie Miller each scored 23 points at Indianapolis as the Pacers extended the Hornets’ losing streak to a club-record 11 games.
The Hornets have an NBA-worst 1-21 road record. It was also the sixth loss in as many games for interim coach Gene Littles.
Miller scored in double figures for his 61st straight game, tying the Pacers club record set by Billy Knight in the 1976-77 season.
Detroit 106, Denver 96--Bill Laimbeer scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Pistons rallied at Auburn Hills, Mich., for their 10th win in a row.
The Nuggets were ahead by five points at the start of the fourth quarter, but Laimbeer--who finished with 13 points and 20 rebounds--made a shot from the top of the key with 8:01 left to break an 85-85 tie and the Pistons then pulled away.
Michael Adams led the Nuggets with 19 points, 15 in the first half.
Chicago 107, Miami 95--Michael Jordan scored seven of his 26 points during a 13-point second quarter run that sparked the Bulls at Miami and overshadowed a franchise-record 40 points by the Heat’s Rony Seikaly.
Chicago led, 49-43, when a three-point play by Jordan started the burst that ended with the Bulls ahead, 62-43, with 1:27 left in the first half. Miami committed seven turnovers as they failed to score over a 4:13 span while Chicago broke the game open.
Seikaly also had 17 rebounds.
New York 114, Atlanta 109--Patrick Ewing scored 31 points at Atlanta as the Knicks won their sixth consecutive game.
It was the Knicks’ third victory in as many meetings with the Hawks this season, giving New York a 2-0 sweep in Atlanta for the first time since 1974-75.
Dominique Wilkins led the Hawks with 33 points, Moses Malone added 24 and Kevin Willis had 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Utah 110, Minnesota 104--Karl Malone scored six of his 40 points in overtime to lead the Jazz to victory at Salt Lake City.
The Jazz outscored Minnesota, 11-1, over the final 4:15 of regulation, with Malone sending the game into overtime when he scored with 61 seconds left to tie the score, 98-98.
Baskets by Tyrone Corbin and Tony Campbell brought the Timberwolves within 104-102 with 2:15 left in overtime, but Mark Eaton, Malone and Bobby Hansen scored successive baskets to seal the victory.
Hansen had 22 points for the Jazz and John Stockton had 18 assists. Tony Campbell led Minnesota with 29 points.
Portland 110, Seattle 106--Kevin Duckworth made two free throws and a key steal in the final 40 seconds as the Trail Blazers won at Seattle.
Duckworth’s free throws with 40.6 seconds left snapped a 104-104 tie. He then made a steal and fed Terry Porter, who had 25 of his 31 points in the second half, for a layup and a 108-104 lead.
Dallas 103, San Antonio 96--Derek Harper scored a team-high 22 points at Dallas as the Mavericks won their eighth consecutive game.
Terry Cummings scored 22 points and David Robinson and Willie Anderson added 21 each for the Spurs, who had won five of their previous six games, and their first two meetings with Dallas.
Sacramento 106, Washington 98--Danny Ainge scored 33 points at Sacramento as the Kings ended a six-game losing streak.
Washington has lost seven of its last eight road games.