For the first time this season, a three-man crew of the NBA's regular referees was officiating a game instead of two replacement officials. An Ontario, Canada, labor board ordered the league to use its regular officials in Toronto at least temporarily to comply with provincial laws.
Dick Bavetta, Paul Mihalak and Tony Brothers were the referees in uniform Wednesday night as Houston's Robert Horry made a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the defending champion Rockets to a 96-93 victory over the Raptors.
Meanwhile in New York, a new salary proposal by the NBA was the subject of talks Wednesday between league officials and referees, who have been locked out since Oct. 1. Mike Mathis, the union's lead negotiator, said an agreement could be reached by Friday.
Denver 137, Phoenix 127--Dale Ellis, Don MacLean and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf each made three-point baskets in the third overtime at Phoenix to lift the Nuggets to their first victory of the season.
Abdul-Rauf had 30 points and 20 assists as Denver ended an 0-6 start and snapped a 14-game losing streak in Phoenix, where it last won on April 11, 1988.
Charles Barkley led the Suns with 29 points.
San Antonio 105, Minnesota 96--David Robinson scored 30 points in 29 minutes and Avery Johnson had 13 assists at Minneapolis as the Spurs improved their overall record against the Timberwolves to 28-3.
Nineteen-year-old rookie Kevin Garnett posted his first double-digit game, scoring 19 points for Minnesota.
Indiana 103, Miami 97--Reggie Miller scored 10 consecutive points in the final six minutes to lead the Pacers to a come-from-behind victory at Miami despite having only eight players in uniform.
Indiana was without injured center Rik Smits and four players suspended after a bench-clearing fight with Sacramento last Friday--Dale Davis, Adrian Caldwell, Duane Ferrell and Travis Best.
Miller scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter
Chicago 113, Cleveland 94--Scottie Pippen scored 27 points and Michael Jordan 20 as the Bulls led from start to finish at Chicago.
Terrell Brandon scored 22 points for the Cavaliers, who tied a club record with eight three-pointers in a half. But the team's 0-7 start is their worst since 1984-85.
Washington 127, Philadelphia 95--Robert Pack scored 26 points and had 10 assists to lead the Bullets to their most lopsided victory in two years at Landover, Md.
Juwan Howard added 21 points for Washington, which didn't trail after the opening two minutes.
Sharone Wright led the 76ers with a career-high 30 points.
New Jersey 90, Charlotte 79--Kevin Edwards scored 14 of his 21 points in the third quarter to help the Nets overcome a 14-point deficit at East Rutherford, N.J.
Charlotte, solidly in command in the opening half, scored only nine points in the third quarter and 27 in the second half.
Armon Gilliam added 16 points for New Jersey, and Jayson Williams had 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Celtics rookie Eric Williams, who finished with 17 points off the bench, scored 13 consecutive points for Boston to cut a seven-point deficit to 81-78 with 7:47 to play.
Malone then returned to the lineup and made five free throws in a row in the closing minutes.
Jeff Hornacek added 17 points for the Jazz.
Ratliff, who hadn't had more than eight points or eight rebounds in the Pistons' previous five games, came off the bench to help them to their third victory in a row despite only four points from Joe Dumars.
Shawn Kemp had 23 points and 21 rebounds for Seattle.