National Basketball Association headquarters yesterday fined Moses Malone, the Washington center, $3,500 for initiating a fight, and Jack Sikma, Milwaukee's forward/center, $1,000 for retaliating in the first quarter of Monday's 114-110 Bucks victory over the Bullets at Capital Centre.

The NBA also fined John Long, Indiana Pacers guard, $2,500 for initiating a fight and Jay Humphries, a guard for Phoenix, $1,000 for throwing punches Friday in Phoenix. Pacers Rod Anderson, Greg Dreiling and Scott Skiles were assessed $500 each for leaving the bench area during the ruckus.

Hawks on Guard

The Atlanta Hawks are still in a virtual tie with the Detroit Pistons for first place in the Central Division, but the team has lost eight of its last 12 games, leading some of the faithful in Georgia to worry.

One of those growing more and more concerned is Hawks General Manager Stan Kasten.

"Dominique {Wilkins, the all-star forward} has had a nice year, Glenn Rivers {also an all-star} has had a nice year and Cliff Levingston's had a pretty good one, but everyone else has been spotty all season," he said.

Part of the Hawks' problems rests in the backcourt, where Randy Wittman has been plagued by a shooting slump since before the All-Star break. The reserve point guard, Spud Webb, has been ineffective in the half-court game and McKinley High's John Battle, the fourth guard but Atlanta's third-leading scorer, is out indefinitely with hepatitis . . .

The Nike Corporation decided to go all out in wishing Chicago Bulls' guard Michael Jordan a happy 25th birthday yesterday, taking out a full-page ad in both the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times.

Good and Cavalier

Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers in action last week, Cotton Fitzsimmons, the Phoenix Suns' director of player personnel, marveled over the play of second-year men Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper and John Williams, and rookie guard Kevin Johnson.

"Now there's a group," he said. "You know that you're in good shape when you can sit back and look at your team and feel good now and in the future."

The former coach was asked how he feels when he sits back and looks at the Suns, who are struggling near last place in the Pacific Division.

"I feel very bad these days," he laughed, "I'm not sure when I'll be able to feel better."

Daugherty says the reason why the extremely young team -- with only two players, forwards Kent Benson and Phil Hubbard over 30 -- is able to play so well in close games is simple.

"We're so young that if we aren't poised, we'd get killed out there every night," he said . . .

The Denver Nuggets have started a campaign to make forward Jay Vincent the NBA's Sixth Man of the year. The former Bullet is averaging 17 points a game -- the only reserve in the league to reach that figure, the team says.

"The biggest difference in coming off the bench and starting is having to score quicker; I don't have the time to get the feel for the game as much. I just have to go in and get right after it," he said recently. "The more I play here, the more comfortable I am with the system and my teammates are more comfortable with me, knowing what I can do."

If Vincent believes that, then he's either undergone an attitude adjustment or the Nuggets have done a great selling job. The forward bristled last season when injuries relegated him to a similar role with the Bullets and part of the reason for his trade to Washington from Dallas was Vincent's constant complaining about being a reserve behind Mark Aguirre and Sam Perkins.