Denver's Lafayette Lever broke a 98-98 tie by making a 20-foot jumper with 26 seconds to play, then Boston's Larry Bird missed from 17 feet when teammate Jerry Sichting fell at Bird's feet trying to set a pick. The upshot was a 102-100 victory for the Nuggets over the Celtics last night in Denver.

Denver made a wild inbounding pass after Bird's miss, but Bill Hanzlik slapped the ball off the leg of Boston's Scott Wedman, enabling the Nuggets to keep possession. Bird immediately fouled T.R. Dunn, who made both free throws at :11 for a four-point lead. Pistons 109, Cavaliers 107

Joe Dumars made a 22-foot base line shot with one second to play in Richfield, Ohio, and with the victory over Cleveland, Detroit has its longest winning streak of the season, six games.

Cleveland, with World B. Free idled by a strained calf, had come from 20 points behind to lead, 104-103, before the Pistons won their ninth game in the last 10.

After Dumars made four free throws, Mel Turpin's three-point play drew the Cavaliers even, 107-107. Bucks 120, Rockets 113

Sidney Moncrief scored nine of his 28 points during a third-quarter rally from a point down to 14 up and Milwaukee won its seventh straight. Houston lost at home for only the third time this season. Ralph Sampson led Houston with 24 points but fouled out with seven minutes left. Kings 107, Spurs 105

Guard Reggie Theus went six for six from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, including two shots with five seconds left, and had 18 points and 13 assists to lift Sacramento over visiting San Antonio.

Sacramento was 11 for 12 from the line in the final quarter. San Antonio hit only seven of 15 in the period. Trail Blazers-Bulls ppd.

Portland's game at Chicago was called off because of fog at O'Hare International Airport and rescheduled for Friday.