NBA ROUNDUP : Nuggets Gain More Confidence After Ending Suns’ Winning Streak at 9
Denver has a new look and a new attitude and after Wednesday night’s 123-109 victory over Phoenix, Nugget Coach Paul Westhead sees a bright future.
“We have to beat some good teams to put out a signal, and we did that,” Westhead said after the victory at Denver that ended the Suns’ nine-game winning streak.
The Nuggets’ brightest young star is rookie Dikembe Mutombo, who scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“All I try to tell Dikembe is to keep his head in the game,” said Greg Anderson, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds. “He comes out and plays hard every minute he’s on the floor, and that will serve him well.”
Walter Davis, who scored 19 points for the Nuggets, can see the difference in the team’s attitude.
“We think we can beat anybody if we’re playing well,” Davis said.
Phoenix Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons also praised the Nuggets.
“Obviously, they outplayed us all game,” he said. “They certainly deserved to win. They outhustled us. I don’t mind if we get outshot or outrebounded, but I don’t like it when we get outhustled, and that disappoints me.”
Miami 118, Indiana 112--Glen Rice made five three-pointers and scored 22 points, and Grant Long scored six of his 20 points in overtime at Miami as the Heat rebounded from a 68-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rik Smits of the Pacers, held to seven points in regulation, took advantage of the absence of Rony Seikaly, who fouled out, to score the first four points of overtime, giving the Pacers a 107-103 lead.
Miami responded with a basket by Steve Smith, Rice’s fifth three-pointer and two free throws by Long to move in front, 110-107, with 1:57 left.
Smith finished with 19 points and Keith Askins scored 18 for Miami, whose 148-80 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night was the most lopsided in NBA history.
New Jersey 102, Cleveland 93--One night after playing a near-perfect game, the Cavaliers were perfectly awful against the Nets at East Rutherford, N.J.
Derrick Coleman had 22 points and Drazen Petrovic scored 14 of his 20 in the decisive third period for the Nets.
The Cavaliers never got untracked against the Nets, making 38.5% of their shots and committing 22 turnovers, including 16 steals by New Jersey.
Prior to the game, Net Coach Bill Fitch, reportedly about to be fired and replaced by former North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano, was given a vote of confidence by majority owner Alan Aufzien and vice president Willis Reed.
Boston 131, Milwaukee 117-- Kevin McHale, back in his familiar sixth-man role, scored 20 points as the Celtics extended their home winning streak to 10 games.
With a balanced attack, the Celtics breezed to their sixth victory in seven starts and took sole possession of the Atlantic Division lead from idle New York with a 16-7 record.
Larry Bird, Kevin Gamble and Ed Pinckney each scored 15 points, Brian Shaw and Rick Fox had 14 apiece and Brian Lewis had 12 for Boston, which nailed down the outcome early and easily offset a rash of Buck three-pointers in the final period.
Detroit 117, Charlotte 97--The Pistons scored a season-high 37 points in the first quarter at Detroit.
Bill Laimbeer, whose season-high for an entire game was 16 points, scored 18 of his 26 in that opening quarter. Laimbeer found the range early, hitting his first four shots.
The Hornets rank next to last in the NBA in defense, giving up more than 113 points per game.
Joe Dumars scored 20 points for Detroit. Dennis Rodman had 21 rebounds to help Detroit outrebound the Hornets, 53-38.
Utah 107, Philadelphia 105--Karl Malone scored 30 points and John Stockton had 17 points and 18 assists to lead the Jazz at Philadelphia.
The 76ers had a chance to tie, retaining possession with eight seconds left, but Charles Barkley’s 12-foot jump shot in heavy traffic bounced off the front of the rim.
Barkley scored 25 points and Hersey Hawkins had 23 for Philadelphia.
Washington 96, San Antonio 93--Michael Adams scored 35 points and the Bullets ended an eight-game losing streak in a fight-marred contest at San Antonio.
Washington’s Harvey Grant and San Antonio’s David Robinson were ejected with 5:59 remaining in the game after they exchanged punches.
The Spurs trailed, 89-78, at the time, but rallied without Robinson, who scored 25 points.