This time, the showdown went to Patrick Ewing.
He frustrated Hakeem Olajuwon early and won his personal duel with the Houston center, scoring 31 points at New York as the Knicks defeated the Rockets, 122-117, on Sunday in a reprise of last year’s NBA title series.
Olajuwon, hounded by Ewing, missed nine of his first 11 shots but still finished with 27 points.
“Patrick simply had a great game,” Knick Coach Pat Riley said. “He made some good adjustments against Hakeem. You simply can’t post up against Hakeem 16 or 17 feet from the basket and expect to back in. You have to vary what you want to do.”
After making only two of his first 11 shots, Olajuwon made an impressive recovery, making eight of 10, including two quick baskets in the final 30 seconds of the first half. Still, he seemed worn out by competing against Ewing.
“It’s always hard to play against him,” Olajuwon said. “I’m always so tired. He’s not just a player for himself. He wants to win, like me.”
Phoenix 110, Utah 107--Charles Barkley made two free throws for the last of his 35 points as the Suns came from seven points behind in the final 2 1/2 minutes to win at Phoenix.
Barkley hit the free throws with 27.7 seconds left, putting the Suns up, 109-107.
Karl Malone of the Jazz missed a three-point shot with 16 seconds to go. A.C. Green rebounded, was fouled and made one free throw.
Indiana 106, Miami 87--Reggie Miller and Dale Davis scored 16 points each to lead eight Pacers in double figures at Indianapolis.
The score was tied, 76-76, after three quarters, but the Pacers held the Heat to only 11 fourth-quarter points to keep Miami winless in its 13 trips to Market Square Arena.
Kevin Willis paced Miami with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Glen Rice added 13.
The victory was the Pacers’ third in a row and the Heat dropped its third consecutive game and is 1-3 since Alvin Gentry replaced Kevin Loughery as coach.
Minnesota 100, Orlando 95--Isaiah Rider scored 33 points, including 13 in a row during Minnesota’s third-quarter comeback at Minneapolis.
Rider added 10 rebounds as the Wolves, losers of eight of their previous 10 games, sent the Magic to its fourth consecutive loss on the road.
Shaquille O’Neal scored 36 points for Orlando, which also lost to the Timberwolves in its only visit to Minneapolis last season.
Denver 94, Washington 92--Brian Williams made a free throw and Jalen Rose made two, all in the final 37 seconds at Landover, Md., where the Bullets missed two free throws and two field goal attempts in the final four seconds of a loss.