George Gervin scored a game-high 35 points, including the final seven in a decisive third quarter, to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 132-122 victory over the Houston Rockets in a nationally televised game yesterday in Chicago.
Trailing, 94-88, with 2:36 left in the third quarter, the Bulls outscored the Rockets, 9-0, to take a three-point lead. Gervin scored 18 points in the period, in which the Bulls went 14 for 20 from the field.
The victory ended Chicago's three-game losing streak and Houston's five-game winning streak.
Gene Banks had 18 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, and rookie Charlie Oakley had a career-high 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Akeem Olajuwon led the Rockets with 33 points; John Lucas had 20.
Houston shot 67 percent in the second quarter to take a 67-65 halftime lead. Olajuwon had 15 points and six rebounds and Ralph Sampson had 14 points and five rebounds in a see-saw first half.
The Bulls, who won only their second game in their last 10, played without guard Michael Jordan (broken foot) and forward Orlando Woolridge (sprained wrist). Nuggets 116, Bucks 113
Alex English scored 35 points in Denver as the Nuggets rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat Milwaukee.
"The game swung back and forth rapidly," said Bucks Coach Don Nelson. "I can control the tempo offensively, but Denver pulled its defense up and that caused trouble for our big guards."
Milwaukee is 32-17, atop the Central Division, and Denver is 28-20 and in second place in the Midwest Division.
"The biggest factor was the crowd," said Cummings. "It got into the game and hyped their guys up, and we sagged a little."
English tied the score at 96-96 with a baseline 16-footer that sparked a 10-point Denver run. Elston Turner and Bill Hanzlik hit jumpers, English scored on a stuff and Wayne Cooper on a 17-footer to give Denver a 104-96 lead with 6:05 to play.
The Bucks kept chipping away until they narrowed Denver's lead to 109-108. The Nuggets retaliated with five points, the last three on a dunk and free throw by Cooper, to make it 114-108.
Paul Pressey's driving layup for Milwaukee was matched by Hanzlik's two free throws. The Bucks then closed to within three points on three free throws in the final seconds, and a 23-foot shot by Terry Cummings bounced off the rim at the buzzer. It was ruled a two-point attempt.
Lafayette Lever had 17 points for Denver and Turner and Danny Schayes had 12 each.
Sidney Moncrief led Milwaukee with 23 points and Cummings and Pressey had 22 each. Nets 108, Hawks 100
Buck Williams had 20 points and 14 rebounds and Albert King scored 15 points and sparked a fourth-quarter spurt in East Rutherford, N.J., to lead the Nets over Atlanta.
King scored seven points in the fourth period and helped limit Atlanta scoring star Dominique Wilkins to four second-half field goals after the forward scored 25 points in the first half.
"Dominique is more than 50 percent of their offense," said King. "You have to try to control him and double-team him and hope he doesn't shoot well."
Wilkins went 10 for 14 from the field in the first half as the Hawks took a 55-49 lead.
"We started overplaying him in the second half and made some steals," said King. "The big thing was, they stopped making their shots."
After intermission, Wilkins made just four of 17 field goal attempts as the Hawks went 16 for 45.
With the Nets ahead, 86-84, King led a 15-4 burst that gave New Jersey a 101-88 lead with 4:53 to play. He had five points during the run.
Wilkins led all scorers with 38 points. Darwin Cook had 10 points and 15 assists for New Jersey.
"Winning by eight is like an avalanche for us," said Nets Coach Dave Wohl, whose team had lost four of its last six games and seven of 11. "After the first half, I was just hoping we could outscore Dominique." Suns 112, Spurs 111
Walter Davis scored 28 points as Phoenix won in San Antonio.
The Spurs had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Mike Mitchell missed a 10-footer from the left baseline. Phoenix center Rick Robey, who committed a turnover that gave San Antonio its final chance, got the rebound and rolled across the floor as time expired.
The Spurs were unable to call a set play in the final seconds, since San Antonio Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons had used his final timeout with 6:56 left.
Davis made two free throws to give Phoenix its first lead of the game, 108-107, with 1:59 to play.
After Mitchell missed, Davis made a 20-footer with a second left on the shot clock to give Phoenix a three-point lead in the final minute.
Mitchell had 30 points for San Antonio, joining Steve Johnson with 26 and Artis Gilmore with 23 in double figures.
The front line outscored its Phoenix counterpart, 51-19, in the first half and held a 19-5 first-half rebounding edge over Phoenix's Larry Nance, Ed Pinckney and James Edwards.