If ever the stage was set for Paul Westhead’s fast-paced style to produce a victory for the Nuggets, it was Saturday night at Denver.
The Nuggets were rested and they were up against the weary Chicago Bulls, playing their seventh game on a trip that began Nov. 13.
For more than three quarters, the running Nuggets were in charge. They held a 123-109 lead with less than 11 minutes remaining.
But the Bulls’ Michael Jordan, who battled flu and some cold shooting nights during the trip, reached back and came up with something extra.
Jordan sank two difficult jumpers and two free throws in the last 62 seconds to give the Bulls a 151-145 victory.
Two free throws by former Laker Orlando Woolridge nullified the first of Jordan’s jumpers and tied the score, 145-145.
The next time down the floor, Jordan went up between two Nuggets and sank a 12-footer. After a miss, he grabbed the rebound, was fouled and sealed the victory with the two free throws.
Jordan finished with 38 points; Woolridge had 29 for the Nuggets.
The Bulls’ Craig Hodges made three three-pointers during the fourth-quarter rally.
The Nuggets fell to 1-11. The Bulls finished their toughest trip with a 4-3 record.
Boston 113, Cleveland 102--One of the problems the Celtics have had in recent years has been an inability to win on the road.
Late last season they appeared to overcome it. Now, they are winning on the road again.
Reggie Lewis made seven of his first eight shots at Richfield, Ohio, to get the Celtics off to a fast start and they never let the Cavaliers get close.
With 16 of his 28 points in the first quarter, Lewis helped the Celtics to a 14-point lead.
Larry Bird had 29 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who are 10-2, with 5-1 records home and away. They lead the Atlantic Division by 1 1/2 games.
Milwaukee 107, New York 97--Throughout his career as one of the NBA’s best sixth man, Ricky Pierce has been an excellent shooter. So the Bucks didn’t worry too much when the sharpshooting guard went into a slump recently.
As expected he regained his touch, and the Knicks, who are having trouble winning at home, were his victims.
Pierce, making nine of 13 shots, including three of five from three-point range, led the Bucks to their fourth consecutive victory and dropped the Knicks’ record at Madison Square Garden to 2-4.
The Bucks never trailed after the opening moments and Pierce set the pace with 31 points.
After three games in which he made less than 40% of his shots, Pierce is shooting 55.9% and averaging 27.5 points during the winning streak.
“I’ve been a consistent shooter and I want it to stay that way,” Pierce said.
Coach Stu Jackson said his Knicks lacked a strong will to win right now.
“We’re not defending at all,” he said, “and we’re not executing on offense. The ball’s not moving enough.”
New Jersey 117, Golden State 113--After ending their record road losing streak Friday night at Phoenix, the Nets were more confident at Oakland.
They led most of the way against the Warriors, but it took a 25-foot shot by 7-foot-1 Sam Bowie as time ran out on the shot clock to win it.
The Nets, trailing, 113-112, were trying to set up a winning basket, but the shot clock was running down when Bowie, all alone way out on the court, launched his shot. The ball went in to give the Nets a 115-113 lead with 21 seconds left.
Chris Mullin missed a jumper, and, with five seconds left, the Nets’ Reggie Theus was fouled. He made both shots and the Nets had a two-game road winning streak.
Charlotte 125, Miami 112--The Hornets couldn’t handle the Heat at home Friday night, but they were ready to play at Miami.
Johnny Newman scored 12 of his 30 points in the first quarter to give the Hornets a lead they never relinquished. Newman sparked a 15-point run that gave the Hornets a 33-17 lead.
The Hornets kept their big lead most of the way with the help of 32 free throws in 34 attempts.
The victory pulled the Hornets back to .500 (7-7). Miami is 4-8.
Utah 85, Dallas 74--The Jazz don’t have their offense in gear this season, but their defense pulls out some games.
Karl Malone scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half at Dallas and Utah overcame an 11-point second quarter to hand the Mavericks their third loss in a row.
Washington 107, Indiana 105--A layup by Haywoode Workman, a free-agent guard, with three seconds left in overtime at Landover, Md., ended the Bullets’ five-game losing streak.
Bernard King kept the Bullets in the game, scoring 34 points. But when the Pacers surrounded King in the closing seconds of overtime, it was up to Workman.
The Pacers’ Reggie Miller missed a three-pointer as the game ended.