NBA ROUNDUP : Willis Makes Up for Lost Time, Hawks Win

The Atlanta Hawks’ wait for seven-foot Kevin Willis to live up to his potential is paying off in his seventh season.

In another dominating performance Tuesday night at Dallas, Willis had a career-high 31 rebounds and 29 points, including two free throws in the closing seconds to preserve a 103-99 victory.

After Herb Williams missed a 10-footer with 10 seconds left that would have tied the score, Willis grabbed the rebound, was fouled and converted both free throws.

Willis broke the Reunion Arena rebounding record of 27 set by the Mavericks’ James Donaldson in 1989 and became the first player in nearly four years to get 30 rebounds in a game.


“I knew I had a lot of rebounds, but I didn’t know how close I was to 30 until my teammates let me know,” Willis said. “I can’t be satisfied, I have to keep going. This isn’t anything that’s surprising me.”

Willis, who has had at least 20 rebounds in seven of the last nine games, leads the league with a 17.5 average. Last season he averaged 8.8 rebounds. The only time he averaged in double figures was the 1986-87 season.

Phoenix 101, Minnesota 95--Kevin Johnson has overcome hamstring problems that hampered his play last spring and the Suns are making a move.

Johnson scored 11 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter at Minneapolis and rallied the Suns past the Timberwolves.


Jeff Hornacek, who had to carry the load when Johnson was ailing, had 17 points and each had seven assists to lead the Suns to their fourth victory in a row.

The Timberwolves (3-11), led, 81-75, with 9:35 remaining, but the Suns, 9-9 after opening 3-8, had the finishing kick.

Indiana 108, Detroit 99--Teams that were humiliated by the Pistons in recent years are enjoying the chance to strike back.

The Pacers, who lost most of their battles when the Pistons won two consecutive titles, dominated the fourth quarter at Auburn Hills, Mich., to make it two in a row over Detroit.


In both games, center Rik Smits was the key for the Pacers. Last month at Indianapolis, he had 26 points and blocked four shots. In this one he had 24 points and six rebounds.

The Pistons (8-10) had a four-point lead after three quarters, but the Pacers outscored them, 27-14, in the last 12 minutes.

Joe Dumars had 33 points, 15 of them in the third quarter to give Detroit the lead, but Isiah Thomas, had only six points.

Sacramento 99, San Antonio 94--The Spurs, 8-0 at home, fell to 2-4 on the road.


Mitch Richmond scored 24 points and Spud Webb 21 and kept the Kings ahead most of the game. The Kings are 5-4 at home.

The Spurs’ three-game winning streak ended despite 30 points and 24 rebounds from David Robinson.

Golden State 108, Utah 103--Chris Mullin matched Karl Malone’s 34 points at Oakland and the Warriors avenged a 27-point loss last Friday night at Salt Lake City.

The Warriors built a 57-52 halftime lead, then fell behind by a point after three quarters. After missing eight consecutive free throws in the third quarter, the Warriors made six without a miss in the final 16 seconds.


Portland 124, Miami 94--With center Rony Seikaly missing because of a one-game suspension, the Trail Blazers drove the lane at will at Miami.

The Trail Blazers, who have had shooting problems this season, shot 55%, their best of the season.

They broke the game open when they sank 13 of 17 shots in a 34-12 run that began late in the half.

New Jersey 88, Philadelphia 86--Without injured Charles Barkley, the 76ers can’t seem to beat anybody.


A last-second steal by Derrick Coleman, returning after missing eight games, foiled the 76ers’ chance to tie at East Rutherford, N.J., and they lost their seventh in a row.

They have lost five of them since Barkley suffered a bruised rib cage. Without the burly forward, the 76ers are vulnerable on the boards. They were outrebounded, 68-43.

Barkley may return Friday night at Portland.

Denver 110, Houston 100--Chris Jackson came off the bench to score 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter at Houston and spark the Nuggets to their first road victory since January.


The Nuggets lost their five previous road games this season.

The Rockets, who won all seven previous home games, were again without centers Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Smith.

Seattle 91, Washington 90--Gary Payton sank a fall-away 17-footer with seven seconds left at Seattle and the SuperSonics barely beat the crippled Bullets.

The Bullets were without Michael Adams and Pervis Ellison, their two top scorers in the absence of Bernard King.