CHICAGO, FEB. 7 -- With a trio of Chicago prep stars and the Bulls' own Michael Jordan, the East squad had an unusually strong homecourt advantage for the 38th NBA All-Star Game today.
Isiah Thomas, the Detroit Pistons' playmaking guard, had 15 assists for the East, hitting game MVP Jordan with pass after pass in the building Thomas snuck into several times as a Chicago youngster.
"We wanted to make sure if there was going to be an MVP on our team, it was going to be Michael," said Thomas, who was roundly booed when introduced at the start of the game.
He said the booing didn't bother him. "I'm from an opponent in the same division," he said. "The Detroit Pistons have a good rivalry with Chicago."
The two other native Chicagoans on the East team were Glenn (Doc) Rivers of the Atlanta Hawks and Maurice Cheeks of Philadelphia. Rivers played 16 minutes and scored nine points. Cheeks played only four minutes, all in the first half.
Rivers had more than 30 friends and family in the stands for his first all-star game appearance. Playing before a hometown crowd made the game special, and scary.
"I admit I was a little nervous at the beginning," said Rivers, who missed his first four free throw attempts. "Then I settled down. It was great. My 6-year-old son was here. He doesn't know what he saw but he was at the game."
Rivers said he will always remember one of his six assists. On a three-on-one break, Rivers had Jordan on one side and Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins on the other.
"I could close my eyes and throw it either way. I knew we would score," he said. "Once I make the pass, it's going to be a fantastic play."
Thomas also had the world's easiest assist in the fourth quarter when the game turned away from scoring and into a playground show. Thomas bounced the ball hard on the floor toward the basket but Wilkins mistimed the jump for the alley-oop.
Right behind Wilkins, however, was Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks, who grabbed the ball out of the air and slammed it over Wilkins.
Wilkins added 29 points and led Jordan in scoring until Thomas, Wilkins and Larry Bird of Boston helped turn the fourth quarter into Jordan's show.
Besides Rivers, Brad Daugherty of Cleveland and Danny Ainge of Boston played in their first all-star games. Daugherty played 15 minutes and made six of seven field goal attempts for 12 points.
Ainge, eliminated in the first round of the three-point competition Saturday, made three of four three-pointers in today's game and finished with 12 points.
Ewing was on the all-star team for the second time but was playing in only his first game because an injury kept him out of the 1986 game. He scored nine points, including a pair of dunks off alley-oop passes from Thomas.