NBA ROUNDUP : This Garden Party for Suns, Not Nelson

From Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns weren’t going to let themselves get off to an 0-3 start. Charles Barkley and Wayman Tisdale made sure of that.

Tisdale scored 10 of Phoenix’s first 13 points of the fourth quarter and finished with 18 Tuesday night as the Suns came back to defeat New York, 102-94, in Coach Don Nelson’s regular-season home debut with the Knicks.

With the victory, the Suns avoided starting the season with three losses in a row for the first time since 1985-86, when they began 0-9. It was the first victory for Phoenix at Madison Square Garden since March 5, 1991.

“That was huge tonight,” said Barkley, whose team started the season with losses to the Clippers and Houston Rockets.


Down by 13 early in the third quarter, Phoenix started the fourth quarter trailing by 10. But Coach Paul Westphal went with a big lineup of Tisdale, Barkley and A.C. Green up front against a Knick lineup that was soft in the front court after the ejection of Anthony Mason.

The Suns opened the quarter with nine consecutive points. The Knicks shot 26% and scored only 14 points in the quarter.

Houston 106, Milwaukee 89--Hakeem Olajuwon scored 26 points to move within 30 of 20,000 and Clyde Drexler added 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Rockets overpowered the Bucks at Houston.

Vin Baker had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Bucks, who trailed, 56-52, at halftime but faltered in the third quarter.

Chicago 117, Toronto 108--Michael Jordan scored eight points in a late 15-0 run and the Bulls went 3-0 for the first time since the 1987-88 season by beating the Raptors in Chicago.

Jordan, who finished with 38 points, made three jumpers and a pair of free throws in the decisive spurt that gave Chicago a 113-100 lead with three minutes left.

Toronto rookie Damon Stoudamire had 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

Sacramento 109, Philadelphia 106--Mitch Richmond scored 23 points and Tyrone Corbin made two crucial free throws as the unbeaten Kings held off the 76ers at Philadelphia.

Rookie Jerry Stackhouse had 34 points for Philadelphia.

Dallas 99, Vancouver 88--Jason Kidd had 15 points at home as the Mavericks went 3-0 for the first time in franchise history and gave the expansion Grizzlies their first loss.

Charlotte 108, Detroit 96--Dell Curry scored 18 of his 27 points in the final 15 minutes as the Hornets rallied at Charlotte.

Detroit’s Grant Hill didn’t get a field goal until the third quarter but finished with 16 points. Glen Rice had 17 for Charlotte.

Indiana 104, Cleveland 101--Reggie Miller scored 25 points and Antonio Davis made two clinching free throws with 19.6 seconds left as the Pacers spoiled the Cavaliers’ home opener.

Indiana improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1989 and only the second time in its NBA history. The Cavaliers, winless in three games this season, lost their fourth consecutive home opener.

New Jersey 104, Portland 84--Armon Gilliam scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and rookie Ed O’Bannon had 14 as the Nets whipped the Trail Blazers at East Rutherford, N.J.

Golden State 98, Denver 93--Latrell Sprewell scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and No. 1 draft pick Joe Smith had 13 points in his home debut.

NBA Notes

Tyrone Hill of the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a concussion and contusions after being in a car accident on the way to Tuesday’s game against Indiana. He was taken to the Cleveland Clinic for further observation.