In the absence of Charles Barkley, Hersey Hawkins has had to carry the offensive load for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Hawkins, a 6-foot-3 guard in his third NBA season, has risen to the occasion. It hasn’t always meant victory, however.
Hawkins had a personal-best 38 points Friday night at Philadelphia and with help from Rickey Green, led the 76ers to a 116-94 victory over the Boston Celtics.
The Atlantic Division rivals are both playing without their best players. Larry Bird of the Celtics has a back problem and has been sidelined for nine games in a row. The Celtics are 5-4 in his absence and have a 7 1/2-game lead.
Barkley, who has a broken bone in his foot, has been sidelined for six games. The 76ers are 2-4. They lost the previous four games although Hawkins averaged 32.4 points.
Green, the playmaker with Johnny Dawkins sidelined for the season, put on his best show to complement Hawkins. Green had a season-high 27 points on 13-of-17 shooting and nine assists.
The 76ers led most of the game, but the Celtics cut the lead to 65-63 halfway through the third quarter.
Hawkins and Green rallied the 76ers to an 87-76 lead after three quarters and they pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“I’m looking to take more shots,” Hawkins said. “With Charlie out, we all have to pick up the slack.”
The Celtics, who are hoping that Bird will return after the All-Star break, suffered another blow. Robert Parish, who was sidelined for two games early in the week because of a sprained ankle, suffered another injury to the ankle in the third quarter. After he left, the 76ers regained control.
Detroit 84, Dallas 82--The Pistons are finding that life without Isiah Thomas is not going to be easy.
The Mavericks, who long ago lost Roy Tarpley for the season, came close to winning for the sixth time in 20 road games.
A three-point basket by Brad Davis with 3.4 seconds to play let the Mavericks pull even, 82-82, at Auburn Hills, Mich.
But, with time running out, Bill Laimbeer made a 10-foot shot and the Pistons had their 13th victory in 15 games.
They will be without Thomas, their leader and playmaking guard, for at least 12 weeks because of wrist surgery.
Vinnie Johnson, Thomas’ replacement, had 21 points.
Phoenix 128, Seattle 113--The Suns used a 38-point fourth quarter at Phoenix and ended a two-game losing streak.
The SuperSonics and Suns were tied, 90-90, after three quarters. But Tom Chambers scored 14 of his 28 points in the last 12 minutes as Phoenix broke it open.
Kevin Johnson once again took charge of the Suns offense. He had 25 points and 15 assists as the Suns moved to within 7 1/2 games of first in the Pacific Division.
Eddie Johnson, traded by the Suns to Seattle Dec. 7 in the deal forXavier McDaniel, led Seattle with 22 points.
Chicago 108, Miami 87--The Bulls, still angry about losing at New Jersey Wednesday night, took it out on the Heat at Chicago.
They charged to a 33-17 lead in the first quarter, padded the lead in the second and rested Michael Jordan and the other regulars in the last quarter.
Jordan, who played only 28 minutes, was 10 for 14 and had 26 points and the Bulls remained a half-game ahead of Detroit in the Central Division.
Miami Coach Ron Rothstein could find only one bright spot after his team’s poor performance. “We only have to play them once more,” he said.
Indiana 106, Washington 100--Chuck Person scored five of his 25 points in a 13-0 closing run at Baltimore as the Pacers won their second road game in a row.
The Bullets, who had a four-point lead with 3:21 left, didn’t score again until Harvey Grant made a three-point basket as the game ended.
Bernard King had 34 points for the Bullets.
Utah 105, Sacramento 93--Karl Malone had 20 points and Mike Brown led an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter at Salt Lake City that broke the game open.
Brown had only nine points, but seven of them came during the rally that ended the Kings’ hopes of stretching their winning streak to four games.
Golden State 127, Milwaukee 98--Tim Hardaway had 20 of his 31 points in the first half at Oakland to help the Warriors take an 11-point lead.
The Warriors pulled away in the closing minutes to beat the Bucks for only the second time in the last 17 games.