NBA ROUNDUP : A Magic Moment: No. 32
It was another routine night for Shaquille O’Neal. This time, though, the Orlando Magic celebrated a franchise-record 32nd victory.
“I’m just trying to help my team make it to the playoffs. Just doing my job,” the rookie center said Saturday night after scoring 27 points and grabbing 17 rebounds during the Magic’s 98-84 victory over the New Jersey Nets at Orlando.
O’Neal dominated New Jersey’s Sam Bowie during the fourth quarter, scoring eight points in a row as the Magic opened an 85-72 lead. Eleven of his 12 field goals came on dunks or layups.
“Shaq was getting great position when we had to come down and set up,” Orlando Coach Matt Guokas said. “When he gets the ball that deep and that close to the basket, there really is not too much anybody can do.”
The victory was the first for Orlando in four games against New Jersey this season. The Nets had won six consecutive games against the Magic.
“This was real big,” O’Neal said. “We’ve always had problems with New Jersey. If we get to the playoffs, we can say this was one we needed.”
Scott Skiles returned from a four-game layoff after suffering a shoulder separation to add 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Orlando, which improved to 32-34. The fourth-year team’s best season was 31-51 in 1991.
New Jersey was playing its third consecutive game without leading scorer Drazen Petrovic.
Atlanta 118, Miami 106--Dominique Wilkins scored 37 at Atlanta, his eighth 30-plus point effort in 10 games, as the Hawks won for the 10th time in 11 games.
Wilkins says he is having the best season of his career after sitting out half of the 1991-92 season because of a torn Achilles’ tendon.
Atlanta improved to 36-32, the first time in two years it has been four games above .500.
Denver 123, Indiana 106--Reggie Williams scored 29 points, Chris Jackson added 25 and Dikembe Mutombo set a team single-season record for blocked shots to lead the Nuggets at Denver.
Mutombo had eight of Denver’s 12 blocked shots, plus 15 rebounds and 19 points. That increased his season total for blocked shots to 229, breaking the team record of 227 set by Wayne Cooper during the 1985-86 season.
Denver’s front line of LaPhonso Ellis, who had 17 rebounds, Williams and Mutombo outrebounded Indiana’s front three, 42-19. The Nugget front line outscored the Pacer front three, 61-27.
Milwaukee 125, Sacramento 105--Brad Lohaus scored a career-high 34 points and the Bucks won at Sacramento.
Milwaukee center Moses Malone, sidelined 66 games after having back surgery in November, made his first appearance of the season. He had 11 points and five rebounds in 13 minutes.