Otis Birdsong scored 28 points and made four baskets down the stretch, leading the New Jersey Nets to a 101-96 National Basketball Association victory yesterday over the Philadelphia 76ers in East Rutherford, N.J.
The victory, the Nets' first in four tries against Philadelphia this season after their playoff upset of the 76ers last year, came in front of a national television audience and a season-high crowd of 15,891 at Brendan Byrne Arena.
Birdsong, who had 10 points in the fourth quarter, tied the score at 91-91 with 3:49 left, then followed with field goals that put New Jersey ahead, 93-91, 97-93 and 99-93.
Micheal Ray Richardson had driven for a layup that put New Jersey ahead to stay at 95-93 with 2:04 remaining. Richardson and Buck Williams scored 19 points apiece for the Nets.
Moses Malone and Julius Erving led Philadelphia with 20 points each. Charles Barkley and Andrew Toney scored 15 apiece for the 76ers.
"I told Otis he has to be more selfish," Richardson said. "That (shooting) is what he's paid to do. He knows I'm going to give him the ball. My job is to get the ball to the right person. Otis was the right person today."