NBA ROUNDUP : 76ers Rise, Bulls Fall After 14 Wins in Row
The Philadelphia 76ers’ task could hardly have been more difficult.
They had lost seven in a row; their best player, Charles Barkley, was out indefinitely with a rib injury, and they were playing probably the best two teams in the National Basketball Assn. in back-to-back games.
Many observers say that Portland and the defending champion Chicago Bulls are likely to meet next summer for the championship.
For one amazing weekend, neither could handle the injury-riddled 76ers at the Spectrum.
After winning an overtime thriller from the Trail Blazers Friday night, the undermanned 76ers came back to end the Bulls’ 14-game winning streak with a 103-100 stunner Saturday night.
Armon Gilliam made three free throws in the final 14 seconds to end the Bulls’ club-record winning streak and hand them their third loss in 18 games.
The 76ers trailed, 95-91, with 4:23 left, then held Michael Jordan and his mates to five more points, all free throws by Jordan, who had 32 points. The 76ers scored seven points in a row, four of them by Johnny Dawkins, the hero in the overtime upset of Portland.
But when Gilliam, who had 29 points and nine rebounds, was fouled with 12 seconds left, the lead was only one point. The 6-9 forward made both shots to clinch the victory, only their ninth in 19 games.
Hersey Hawkins had 30 points for the 76ers, but it has been the emergence of Gilliam that played the biggest part in the 76ers’ ability to beat two top clubs back-to-back.
Gilliam, picked by Phoenix out of UNLV in 1987 as the second player chosen, was a disappointment with the Suns and later with the expansion Charlotte team. In his fifth season, he may be finding himself.
Friday night he had 24 points and 14 rebounds. He has scored at least 20 points in five consecutive games.
Jordan almost carried the Bulls to victory. Besides hitting his point average, he had 14 rebounds and nine assists.
“It was a good run, now it’s time to start another one,” Jordan said.
Gilliam was still exhilarated after the game.
“We really wanted to win this one,” he said. “It says a lot about us. We lost seven in a row, then came back to beat two of the best teams.”
Portland 115, Indiana 112--The Trail Blazers barely missed losing their second in a row on the trip. A hot hand by Terry Porter and four missed free throws by the Pacers contributed to the victory at Indianapolis.
Porter, who was one for 13 in the loss Friday night, had 25 points, including a three-point basket during the last minute. He was 11 for 21 and had 10 assists.
Cleveland 99, Washington 97--Steve Kerr sank a 10-foot running one-hander with less than one second to play and the Cavaliers went to 8-0 at home.
The Cavaliers had an 88-73 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining, blew it, then the backup guard won it for them.
Kerr, who did not play in the three previous games, was playing because Mark Price had a sore ankle.
Golden State 124, Sacramento 120--Coach Don Nelson is a little upset because his Warriors aren’t putting teams away when they get the chance.
But Chris Mullin scored 35 points and Golden State held off the Kings despite 29 points by former teammate Mitch Richmond at Oakland.
Phoenix 109, Miami 108--The Suns now own the longest winning streak. Kevin Johnson scored 30 points at Miami and the Suns outlasted the Heat for their seventh victory in a row.
Johnson scored six of his points in the last 72 seconds to preserve the victory.
New York 137, Atlanta 128--It was a big duel between Patrick Ewing and Dominique Wilkins that carried through two overtimes at Atlanta.
Ewing had 43 points and the Knicks won their seventh in the last eight games despite 52 points by Wilkins.
Ewing’s dunk broke a 126-126 tie with two minutes left in the second overtime.
Charlotte 109, Orlando 95--Johnny Newman had 30 points and the Hornets became the last NBA team to win on the road this season, ending their road losing streak at 12 games.
Seattle 104, Dallas 101--Ricky Pierce had 27 points at Seattle and the SuperSonics held off a late surge by the Mavericks to win their third in a row.