NBA ROUNDUP : Cavaliers' Daugherty Outplays Robinson

It is generally conceded that David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon are the class of NBA centers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers might not agree. They are beginning to think that their center, 7-foot-1 Brad Daugherty, belongs with the elite.

Daugherty, in leading the improved Cavaliers to their fifth consecutive victory, outplayed San Antonio's Robinson at Richfield, Ohio, Friday night.

He also outscored him, 31-14, and made the key plays in the Cavaliers' 103-97 victory.

Robinson, who outplayed Ewing on Thursday night when the Spurs ended the New York Knicks' unbeaten streak at home, was hounded by Daugherty and was often double teamed. He had only one shot in the first half and finished three for nine.

Daugherty was nine for 12 and made 13 of 14 free throws. He set up Larry Nance for a layup that put Cleveland ahead for good with seven minutes to play. The Cavaliers, 13-1 at home, are 18-9 overall.

Last season, when Mark Price sat out most of the schedule because of an injury and Daugherty was recovering from surgery, the Cavaliers won only 11 of their first 36 games and never did get untracked.

With Daugherty finally living up to expectations in his sixth season, and Price back, the Cavaliers loom as one of the few teams in the East capable of giving Chicago any kind of battle.

Daugherty doesn't want people to be shocked when he outplays Robinson.

"He's a great player. He's considered the best in our business," Daugherty said. "You learn playing against people like that. I 've got my pride, too."

Daugherty impressed Robinson.

"My game is to roam around and block shots," said Robinson, who blocked six. "But I really have to concentrate defensively on Brad. He's playing really well. He plays the high post quite a bit, and he's a good passer out there. He's a different kind of center."

San Antonio Coach Larry Brown said he was disappointed because the Cavaliers played harder "than we did in the closing minutes."

New Jersey 136, Charlotte 120--The Nets may save Bill Fitch's job yet. With Drazen Petrovic scoring 32 points and Derrick Coleman getting a triple-double at Charlotte, the Nets won their third in a row for the first time this season.

Petrovic and Sam Bowie each scored 13 points in the third quarter when the Nets stretched an 11-point lead to 24 points. Petrovic made four of six three-point shots.

The Hornets (8-22) were without Mike Gminski, Rex Chapman, Johnny Newman and J.R. Reid.

Bowie, who scored 34 points Thursday night in a victory over Houston, had 25 points, making 12 of 14 shots.

Coleman had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Boston 110, Seattle 87--The Celtics bounced back from their Christmas night humiliation in Chicago with a vengeance at Seattle.

Overwhelmed by the Bulls, who didn't need much help from Michael Jordan, the Celtics jumped in front late in the first quarter. They turned it into a rout in the third quarter.

Larry Bird scored 15 of his 25 points in the third quarter when the Celtics built an 89-73 lead.

Bird, who scored only eight points in the 121-99 loss to the Bulls, was 10 for 15, including three of four three-point shots. He also had 10 rebounds. Kevin McHale scored 21 points for the Celtics, who are 6-7 on the road.

Houston 107, Washington 100--Although the Bullets have the worst home record in the league (2-9), they battled the Rockets all the way.

Hakeem Olajuwon had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and the Rockets won at Landover, Md., for the first time since Jan. 2, 1988.

What bothers Coach Wes Unseld is that the Bullets have won three in a row on the road.

The Bullets trailed by only a point until Vern Maxwell made a three-pointer with 1:51 left.

Detroit 106, Orlando 94--After losing its 12th in a row to the Pistons Thursday night at Orlando, the Magic didn't figure to end the skid at Auburn Hills, Mich.

Joe Dumars, who buried the Magic with 31 points the previous night, had 27 points, and Dennis Rodman had 20 rebounds.

The Magic's 13th consecutive loss was the fifth victory in a row for the Pistons and moved them above .500 (15-14). The Pistons had won 33 games last season before they lost their 14th.

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