Milwaukee coach Del Harris can't credit boisterous fans or an imposing building to his team's 10-0 start at home this season.
The Bucks, in fact, have yet to sell out roundup the 18,633-seat Bradley Center despite matching the best home start in team history set in 1984-85."We don't have a home-court advantage here, " Harris said Sunday night after a 105-99 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics improved the Bucks' overall record to 14-6, tying them with Detroit for first in the NBA Central Division.
"The players just work their tails off. We have a quiet crowd. Ask someone if you could win 10 in a row at any time, any place in the NBA. You know how hard it is to win one game? Then you know how hard it is to win 10," Harris said.
Milwaukee needed a strong fourth quarter from Ricky Pierce, who scored 14 of his 24 points in that final period.
"I was a little timid because of my groin (pull)," said Pierce, who's been hobbled for 10 days. "I've been nursing it. I just don't want to come out too fast and hurt it again.
"We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and we feel we can compete for the division title."
The Bucks, who trailed by 9 at the half Sunday night after scoring a season-low 12 points in the second quarter, can't afford a slow start this week when they face Chicago at home and Boston on the road.
"This is the seventh game where we've been a little slow out of the gates," said Harris, who's been slowed himself by a case of walking pneumonia. "I'm proud of the way we played in the second half, but we really have to put together four quarters."
Milwaukee used a 13-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter to build a 10-point lead Sunday.
But Seattle rallied within 4 in the closing seconds behind the play of Shawn Kemp before Pierce dropped in two free throws with 10 seconds left.
"We're playing well but not above our heads," said Dan Schayes, who scored a season-high 17 points on 11-for-11 free throw shooting.
"Ricky's our scorer and every team knows that. They go to the double team and `Boom' you find yourself open a lot of times. I've always prided myself on being a good foul shooter, especially when the game is close."Alvin Robertson, looking for a sweeter contract from the Bucks, had 19 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and seven steals.
Kemp, who will get more playing time with the trade of Xavier McDaniel, scored a career-high 31 points.
"I'm just trying to adjust," said the 21-year-old Kemp, who didn't play college basketball. He showed Sunday night that he can be one of the league's most spectacular dunkers.
"I have to learn to stay in control and let the game come to me. I'm getting the opportunity to shoot and to get the ball down low."
Eddie Johnson, who was traded to the Sonics from Phoenix in the McDaniel deal, scored 6 points in his Seattle debut.
Derrick McKey added 19 for the Sonics.
Lakers 106, Bullets 99
Los Angeles had five players with 17 or more points, offsetting 40 by Bernard King and 25 by Horace Grant.
James Worthy scored 20 points, Magic Johnson 19, Byron Scott and Vlade Divac 18, and Terry Teagle 17 as the Lakers beat the Bullets for the 17th time in 18 meetings at the Forum since 1976.
King had 14 points in the third quarter, 11 of them in a 4 1/2-minute span to key a 13-2 run that helped shrink Washington's 12-point halftime deficit to 73-71 with 1:43 left in the period.
But the Bullets never got closer as Teagle and Divac scored all of the Lakers' points during a 15-7 run that put Los Angeles ahead 94-81 with 5:42 remaining.