The Houston Rockets lost their poise, lost again to one of the NBA's worst teams and may have lost Charles Barkley to a suspension for poking the nose of a referee and drawing blood.

Almost lost in a tumultuous second-half last night in Houston was the San Antonio Spurs' best outing of a so-far ugly season, a 115-101 victory that was their second in a row and only their fifth in 22 games.

Barkley and teammate Clyde Drexler were ejected with 5:47 remaining for drawing their second technical fouls while arguing a call under Houston's basket. Barkley pointed at referee Jack Nies, and his fingernail caused a cut on Nies's nose.

"I think the officiating was terrible," Barkley said, blaming Nies for the outburst. "It was unprofessional of him. He said something I did not like. I didn't say anything."

With 5:47 remaining and the Spurs ahead 99-83, San Antonio's Will Perdue tied up Hakeem Olajuwon under the Houston basket. Drexler and Barkley, each already with one technical foul, wanted a flagrant foul called on Perdue, just as one was called a few minutes earlier against Houston's Kevin Willis.

In the milling of shouting and gesturing players, Nies got poked.

"That was the same play on the other end and he called a flagrant," Barkley said. "He {Nies} turned around and went after me."

Asked what happened after that, Barkley, who already has served a one-game suspension for fighting in an exhibition game, replied: "I don't know. Maybe he blew his nose too hard. I don't want to incite anything. I want to wait in the friendly confines of my home and wait until I get the call from New York tomorrow."

JAZZ 94, HEAT 87: In Miami, Karl Malone led a Utah comeback, then traded postgame barbs with P.J. Brown of the Heat. Malone scored 35 points, including the key basket at the end of the fourth quarter, and added 16 rebounds to help Utah beat the Heat 94-87 in overtime. "I have more respect for Dennis Rodman than I do for Karl Malone," Brown said. "He gets away with a lot of pushing and shoving."

Malone and Brown both played at Louisiana Tech, but Brown is six years younger. "Every time I turn around, somebody is taking a stab at me," Malone said. "It's been that way forever. That's what I don't like about some of these young guys -- they don't have respect for their elders."

Utah's publicists said Malone's 16 rebounds increased his career total to 10,000, making him the 23rd NBA player to reach the milestone, and Malone talked about reaching the plateau during postgame interviews. But a check of the math determined that his total is 9,990.

BULLS 93, HORNETS 72: Michael Jordan scored 35 points and Scottie Pippen and Steve Kerr helped Chicago turn back a Hornets' rally in Charlotte. Pippen and Kerr scored five points each in a 14-2 fourth-quarter run that sent the Bulls to their fifth consecutive win and their 12th in 14 road games this season.

RAPTORS 96, BUCKS 93: Damon Stoudamire had 19 points, 12 assists and a key steal in the final minute in Toronto. Doug Christie added 17 points and another important steal in the final 60 seconds and Carlos Rogers and Zan Tabak contributed 16 points apiece off the bench. Vin Baker had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, whose three-game road winning streak came to an end.

MAVERICKS 105, GRIZZLIES 98: In Vancouver, Derek Harper, filling in for injured Jason Kidd, scored seven of his 22 points during a 16-point fourth-quarter run. Dallas trailed by 11 early in the fourth, but rallied with the 16-0 run and took a 95-90 lead before Blue Edwards ended the Grizzlies' drought with a 20-foot jumper.

KINGS 112, TIMBERWOLVES 105: In Sacramento, Olden Polynice scored six of his 18 points in the final three minutes. Mitch Richmond scored 31 points as the Kings snapped a three-game losing streak with their highest point total of the season. Minnesota lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

CAPTION: Bucks forward Johnny Newman looms over the Raptors' Popeye Jones after losing control of the ball in Toronto.