The Minnesota Timberwolves finally found a way to neutralize Magic Johnson. Now if they could only find a cure for Sam Perkins.

The Timberwolves used 7-foot-3 center Randy Breuer to guard Johnson and harassed the Los Angeles star into a six-for-22 night from the field. But Perkins scored 11 of his 19 points in the final period as the Lakers won their eighth straight game by beating Minnesota, 83-73, Thursday night.

"The strongest part of the Lakers' game is posting Johnson on a smaller guard. He doesn't beat you with his scoring but waits till you double-team him and then passes to the cutter," Minnesota Coach Bill Musselman said.

Johnson still finished with 21 points and became the 40th player in NBA history to reach the 16,000-point plateau. He and Oscar Robertson are the only players with 16,000 points and 9,000 assists in their careers.

"It was a cute tactic," Lakers Coach Mike Dunleavy said of the Timberwolves' defensive assignments. "But basically, {Johnson} missed some shots he normally makes. I wouldn't mind a steady diet of Randy Breuer on him."

After a 1-4 start, the Lakers are 9-1 since Perkins replaced A.C. Green in the starting lineup.

"He's given us a very good all-around game, another guy we can go to on the low post early," Dunleavy said. "And A.C. has done a tremendous job coming off the bench. He's a high-energy player."

"I didn't know the system that well. I was standing around. I was in the mind frame of a rookie," Perkins said of his early games with the Lakers. "I hadn't made that many mistakes in games."

Perkins, signed as a free agent, scored the first five points in the fourth period and Minnesota, which overcame a 28-14 deficit to tie the game at 57 after three quarters, never got closer than three the rest of the way. The Lakers outscored the Timberwolves 15-6 in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the final quarter, with Perkins scoring eight points.

"We tied it up and they went to him inside and we just couldn't stop him," Musselman said of Perkins.

SuperSonics 105, Heat 103: Seattle broke a six-game losing streak with the help of a late technical foul against the Heat for using an illegal defense. Seattle is now 7-0 against expansion Miami.

Sedale Threatt broke a tie at 100 by hitting a free throw following the technical with 49.7 seconds remaining.

After Derrick McKey added a jumper and Threatt hit another free throw, the Heat had a chance to tie when Sherman Douglas hit two foul shots and Glen Rice was fouled with three seconds left.

Rice hit the first shot for his 21st point, but missed the second. Seattle's Nate McMillan added a foul shot for the final margin.

"I told him he was going to choke, that he had an apple in his throat, and he missed," Threatt said of Rice.

Rice is already trying to put his missed opportunity behind him: "Next time around I'll hit both of them. It's disappointing."

The last time the SuperSonics lost seven in a row was between March 25 and April 6, 1989.

Rockets 116, Hornets 110: Akeem Olajuwon scored 39 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked 6 shots as Houston's inside game produced 83 points. Otis Thorpe added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Buck Johnson scored 15 points.

"It was a fun game for me," Olajuwon said. "We just need to be aggressive and have fun at the same time."

Guard Sleepy Floyd added 20 points and helped the Rockets stay in front after Charlotte rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit. Floyd was eight for eight from the free-throw line in the final 81 seconds.

Armon Gilliam led the Hornets with 31 points and 21 rebounds.