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They’re Not Perfect, but Nuggets Are a 10

From Associated Press

Misery will not have company.

The Denver Nuggets beat the Sacramento Kings, 128-103, Thursday night at Denver for their 10th victory of the season, thus avoiding any chance of finishing with the worst record in NBA history.

The Nuggets (10-67) now have one more victory than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m sure it’s a relief,” Nugget Coach Bill Hanzlik said. “With the way this season has been, we’ll probably be called for running an illegal play and have to forfeit the game.”

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Johnny Newman came off the bench to score 35 points for Denver, which has five games remaining. LaPhonso Ellis had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and Cory Alexander added 23 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets.

The win drew a standing ovation from the crowd of 10,959, which has suffered through the worst season in franchise history. The players exchanged high-fives as they trotted off the court.

Seattle 103, Dallas 101--Gary Payton scored seven of his 28 points during a key fourth-quarter run at Dallas as Coach George Karl picked up his 500th victory.

Detlef Schrempf added five of his 22 points during the 15-6 fourth-quarter spurt to help the SuperSonics move within half a game of the Utah Jazz for the best record in the Western Conference.

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Indiana 105, Atlanta 102--Reggie Miller made an off-balance three-point basket with 1.3 seconds left to force overtime and the Pacers never trailed in the extra period at Atlanta.

Miller, who finished with 19 points, opened the overtime with another three-point basket, giving the Pacers a lead they held until Dikembe Mutombo made a short hook to tie the score at 100 with 2:25 to play.

Jalen Rose then made a wide open three-point shot to put Indiana ahead to stay.

Cleveland 91, Chicago 85--Brevin Knight had a career-high 22 points, five steals and four assists at Cleveland as the Cavaliers ended Chicago’s 13-game winning streak.

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Michael Jordan had 29 points, but only 11 came after the first quarter. Jordan didn’t make a field goal in the fourth as the Bulls missed a chance to clinch the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Shawn Kemp had 19 points and 10 rebounds, steadying the Cavaliers down the stretch.

Before the game, the Bulls put center Luc Longley back on the injured list because of a bruised left knee and activated Joe Kleine.

Detroit 102, Washington 83--Amid showers of boos and catcalls at Washington’s MCI Center, the Wizards were routed by a Piston team that had lost their last seven and had just been eliminated from the playoff race.

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The game was essentially over after a 14-0 run gave Detroit a 24-8 lead in the first quarter. Coach Bernie Bickerstaff was gone at 2:09 in the second quarter, ejected after picking up two technical fouls for arguing an offensive foul call on God Shammgod with the Wizards trailing, 48-25.

Houston 93, Golden State 89--Mario Elie scored 22 points and Clyde Drexler added 19 for the Rockets at Oakland.

Drexler had nine points as the Rockets, who have won 17 of their last 20 games against Golden State, outscored the Warriors, 29-18, in the third quarter to turn a four-point halftime deficit into a seven-point lead.


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