The kings of Texas, NBA style, will finally be crowned tonight in San Antonio when the Spurs and Houston Rockets meet in the seventh game of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series in the HemisFair.
The heavily favored Spurs evened the series at 3-3 with a victory in Houston Wednesday night.
Each team has won only one game on its home floor. "Obviously, the home court means nothing at all in this series," said Spur forward Paul Griffin.
George Gervin, who had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Spurs to their 101-96 victory Wednesday at the Summit, said he can feel the pressure. "But we play our best," he said, "when the pressure is on."
Gervin has been getting much support from Mark Olberding, Reggie Johnson, George Johnson and James Silas.The Rockets are basically living on the inside strength of Moses Malone and the outside shooting of Calvin Murphy.
The Houston-San Antonio winner will play the survivor of the Phoenix-Kansas City series. The Kings lead that series, 3-2, going into tonight's sixth game in Kansas City.
The Kings, without starting guards Otis Birdsong and Phil Ford, have gone to a muscle game, and they used it to take a 3-1 series lead. The Suns flexed their muscles for the first time Wednesday night, though, and came away with an easy 101-89 victory in Kansas City. The suns outrebounded the Kings, 52-36.
In the East, Philadelphia wil try to wrap up its semifinal series with the Bucks tonight in Milwaukee (WDVM-TV-9 at 11:30, delayed).
The 76ers routed the Bucks by 17 at the Spectrum Wednesday night to take a 3-2 advantage. Darryl Dawkins outplayed Bob Lanier, Marques Johnson was suffering back spasms and the Bucks were never in the game.
Johnson, who had 35 points in the fourth game, scored nine Wednesday and did not play in the final quarter because of his ailing back.
He plans to play tonight.
"It's a painful thing, but it's also temporary," Johnson said. "I've tried about everything for it -- acupuncture, a chiropractor and a lift in my shoe. I've had this problem ever since college. It's something I know is going to happen once in a while. This is just rotten timing."
In an attempt to contain Johnson, the 76ers guarded him Wednesday with their best defensive forward 7-foot Caldwell Jones. Coach Billy Cunningham said he will stay with that matchup tonight.
The key is Dawkins. He had been outplayed by Lanier in three of the previous four games, but got the best of the 6-11 veteran Wednesday. Dawkins had 14 points six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots; Lanier scored only nine points and had three rebounds.
"I moved a lot more and ran a lot more than in the earlier games," Dawkins said. "I think that bothered him."
The balanced 76ers were led by guards Maurice Cheeks and Lionel Hollins, who accounted for 40 points and 17 assists.
"When Darryl is active like that, crashing the boards things happen for us," Cheeks said. "That gets our running game going and our whole offense takes off from there."
The Milwaukee-Philadelphia winner will face the Boston Celtics, who have been resting since Sunday after sweeping the Chicago Bulls in four games in their semifinal series.