As Larry Bird showed the run-and-gun Denver Nuggets, winning basketball games has nothing to do with youth or speed.
On Wednesday night, Denver tried to outrun the Celtics at Boston Garden. Instead, Bird, who turns 34 on Friday, scored 43 points, handed out 13 assists and grabbed eight rebounds as Boston rallied for a 148-140 victory."It's really a lot of fun, especially when you win," said Bird, who felt it was his team's fault for letting the Nuggets set the game's pace. "We stood around a lot tonight on the defensive end and didn't box out. We let them play the type of game they wanted."
The veteran forward hit 14 of 26 from the floor, including three of six from 3-point territory. His 43 points were the most-ever by a Celtic player against Denver.
"Larry Bird was vintage tonight," said Nuggets Coach Paul Westhead.
"On nights like this, you're happy to get a win," said Boston Coach Chris Ford, whose team is now 14-3. "If you're going to be a good team, you can't let other teams dictate the pace and take control. They had us playing their kind of ball and they almost beat us."
Almost is right. For the second consecutive night, Denver frittered away a fourth-quarter lead. On Tuesday night in Cleveland, Denver held a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter then lost the game 121-117. Denver is winless in eight road games.
Robert Parish and Reggie Lewis added 25 points each for the Celtics, who have won 10 of their last 11. Kevin McHale had 19 and Brian Shaw 18 for Boston. Parish grabbed 14 rebounds.
Michael Adams scored 31 points and Orlando Woolridge had 29 points, including his 10,000th career point. Denver is 0-8 away from home this season and 3-14 overall. Adams, who was one for nine on 3-pointers, had 17 assists.
"The last couple of nights we have been playing well for three quarters," said Adams, who did not score in the final 10 minutes. "We were right there for three and a half quarters, but when we wanted the shots at the end they weren't there."
In other NBA games, Milwaukee out-lasted Cleveland 113-109 in overtime; Indiana downed Phoenix 126-121; Portland defeated Orlando 119-110; Atlanta surprised San Antonio 110-108; Utah blasted Detroit 106-85; the Los Angeles Clippers out-played Dallas 93-89 and Washington triumphed over Golden State 104-98.
Bucks 113, Cavaliers 109 OT
At Milwaukee, Alvin Robertson scored 8 of his season-high 31 points in overtime and added 11 rebounds as the Bucks remained undefeated in nine home games. Jack Sikma contributed 18 points as Milwaukee improved its home mark to 9-0. For Cleveland, Darnell Valentine, playing in his second NBA game since May 1989, scored 24 points.
Pacers 126, Suns 121
At Indianapolis, Reggie Miller scored 27 points, Detlef Schrempf added a season-high 23 and each contributed 11 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Pacers. Kevin Johnson scored 39 to pace Phoenix, which led by 16 points late in the first half.
Trail Blazers 119, Magic 110
At Orlando, Fla., Clyde Drexler pumped in 27 points and Portland improved its league-leading record to 16-1. The Trail Blazers are undefeated in six road games. Kevin Duckworth added 18 points and Portland had six players with at least 14 points. For the Magic, now 4-14, guard Scott Skiles scored a team-high 27.
Hawks 110, Spurs 108
At San Antonio, Glenn "Doc" Rivers scored 25 points, including a 20-foot jumper with three seconds left, as the Hawks won for the second time in two nights after a nine-game losing streak. The Spurs, who suffered their first loss in seven homes games this season, were paced by Terry Cummings' 30 points and Sean Elliot's 20.
Clippers 93, Mavericks 89
At Los Angeles, Charles Smith scored 8 of his 24 points in the final three minutes to help the Los Angeles Clippers win their third in a row and eighth in their last 11. The Mavericks lost their third straight and have 8 losses in their last 10 games since knee injuries took Roy Tarpley and Fat Lever out of the lineup. For the Clippers, Benoit Benjamin registered 16 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Alex English led Dallas with 18 points.
Bullets 104, Warriors 98
At Oakland, Bernard King scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half and the Bullets won for the second time in 10 road games this season. Washington's Harvey Grant added a career-high 27 points. Golden State, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, was led by Mitch Richmond's 21 points. Teammate Chris Mullin, averaging 27 points, was held to a season-low 13.