If free throws are any indication, the Houston Rockets should be in for a better season in 1990-91.
Sleepy Floyd sank four free throws in the final 13 seconds and Houston scored its final 10 points from the line Thursday night, holding on for a 103-99 victory over the winless Orlando Magic.The victory marked the second straight game in which the Rockets won a game based on their free throw proficiency down the stretch. On Tuesday night, Kenny Smith shot six free throws in the final 1:09 to help Houston hang on for a 145-135 victory over Denver.
"All in all, our free throws have improved," Houston Coach Don Chaney said. "We lost a lot of games last year that we would have won if we had made our free throws."
Akeem Olajuwon, who grabbed 19 rebounds, scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including seven free throws at the end. Overall, Houston scored 12 of its final 14 points at the free-throw line.
Smith added 17 points and 10 assists for the Rockets, while Otis Thorpe scored 16 points.
Orlando, which trailed by 16 points in the first half, led 78-77 entering the fourth quarter and still led 92-91 on a 3-point jumper by Scott Skiles wih 4:50 left.
Olajuwon then scored five of Houston's next six points over the next 3:36, while the Rockets held Orlando scoreless in the same span, for a 97-92 lead.
The Magic trimmed the deficit to three twice, and were within 99-98 with 14 seconds left after free throws by Sam Vincent and Dennis Scott. Floyd hit two free throws for Houston, Scott sank one for Orlando, then Floyd sealed the victory with two free throws with eight seconds left.
Nets 114, Heat 103
At East Rutherford, N.J., Mookie Blaylock scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Nets. Reggie Theus scored 24 points for the Nets, who won their home opener after dropping their first three games on the road. Sherman Douglas led Miami with 24 points.
Knicks 114, Bullets 103
At New York, Patrick Ewing scored 32 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and blockled 7 shots to lead the Knicks. New York posted its seventh straight victory over Washington, including all five games last year. Bernard King led the Bullets with 30 points.
Bucks 141, Sixers 111
At Milwaukee, Ricky Pierce scored 28 points and Jay Humphries added 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter to lift the Bucks. Frank Brickowski added 18 points for Milwaukee, which outscored the Sixers 41-19 in the third quarter. Charles Barkley paced Philadelphia with 27 points.