Chuck Daly has a simple solution for winning without Isiah Thomas: playing Joe Dumars more minutes.
"If it ends up that Joe's got to spend the long minutes in there at the end, that's the way it's going to be," Daly said Wednesday night after Dumars scored 27 points in a 93-84 victory over Cleveland. "He's going to earn all that money he's making."Dumars is averaging 23.8 points in the four games - all Detroit victories - since Thomas left the lineup with an injured wrist that required surgery this week. Dumars, averaging 18.9 points for the season, played 42 minutes in three of the four games, and the Pistons won by 40 points in the only game he didn't.
"I get plenty of rest and work out hard in the summer in case something like this happens," Dumars said. "I do a good job of taking care of myself. I don't live too much of a wild life."
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are 5-22 since losing Mark Price to a knee injury on Dec. 3.
"We don't have a guard like Joe Dumars waiting behind Price the way the Pistons have behind Thomas. We're not that deep," Cleveland coach Lenny Wilkens said.
Celtics 144, Magic 102
Boston rolled to its most lopsided victory of the season behind Brian Shaw's 26 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds.
Kevin Gamble and Michael Smith scored 23 points apiece and Ed Pinckney, starting in place of the injured Larry Bird, had a season-high 19 as the Celtics hiked their record to 26-1 against Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and Minnesota, the NBA's newest expansion teams.
The loss was the sixth in seven games for Orlando, which got 20 points from Sam Vincent. The Magic's road record is 2-21.
Pacers 123, Hornets 105
Reggie Miller had 22 points and a career-high 11 assists as Indiana beat Charlotte, giving the Pacers three consecutive victories for the first time this season.
Indiana began the game by outscoring the Hornets 9-2, and then opened its largest lead at 32-13 on a slam dunk by Miller with 2:44 left in the first period. The Pacers made 12 of their first 17 shots.
Suns 115, Heat 104
Phoenix handed Miami its sixth consecutive loss as Dan Majerle scored 22 points and Tom Chambers 21.
The Suns led 101-82 with 7:57 left in the game before Sherman Douglas led a comeback for the Heat, scoring 15 of his 21 points during a 22-9 run that made the score 110-104 with 1:50 to go.
Timberwolves 95, Kings 86
Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak and extended Sacramento's NBA-worst road record to 1-19, including 16 consecutive defeats.
Tyrone Corbin scored 27 points, including nine in a span of 2:39 in the fourth quarter, for the Timberwolves.
Antoine Carr led the Kings with 25 points, and Pooh Richardson had 15 points and 14 assists for Minnesota.