Things like winning streaks and point totals suddenly didn't seem important when Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson was knocked unconscious.
"It was a very scary moment," said Michael Jordan, Johnson's good friend and, on this day, his athletic adversary. "At moments like that, you think about him as a person first and forget about the game."Johnson was briefly knocked cold in a third-quarter collision Sunday. Rookie point guard Tony Smith stepped in to direct the Lakers, who went on to beat the Chicago Bulls 99-86 for their 15th straight victory.
Johnson suffered a concussion and some possible amnesia when he tripped over teammate Terry Teagle and was accidentally kicked in the head by Chicago's Horace Grant. Johnson spent the night in a hospital as a precaution.
Johnson was on the floor for about five minutes after getting hurt, but walked off under his own power. Lakers team physician Dr. Robert Kerland diagnosed the injury and said it did not appear serious.
Trainer Gary Vitti said Johnson was out for about a minute.
"It's tough for me to tell," Vitti said. "It seems like a lifetime when you're out there. It was probably under a minute."
Johnson was taken to Centinela Hospital Medical Center for further examination by a neurologist, said another team physician, Dr. Stephen Lombardo.
Johnson was alert when he left the Forum, but there were some gaps in his memory, Lombardo said. `He realized he was here, but he wasn't clear on the score or what happened."
A stretcher was called for and brought to the Lakers locker room, but Johnson chose to walk to an ambulance for the trip to the hospital.
Johnson's injury occurred with 19 seconds left in the third quarter as he dropped back to defend against a fast break. Grant was attempting a layup when he ran into the Lakers star. Johnson left the game with seven points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
The Lakers led 76-74 after three quarters before breaking away in the final period. Los Angeles shut out the Bulls for the final 4 1/2 minutes and scored the game's last 10 points.
"In the fourth quarter, we lost our continuity and broke down," Jordan said. "The Lakers played tough. Sometimes, when your leader goes down, it inspires the team to play tougher."
Los Angeles' Sam Perkins agreed.
"We all felt the same when Magic was hurt," Perkins said. "We felt we had to tighten up."
The Lakers, who closed to 3 1/2 games behind the Pacific Division-leading Portland Trail Blazers, matched the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. They won an NBA-record 33 straight games in 1971-72 and won 15 in a row in 1987-88. The Lakers play host to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Scottie Pippen led Chicago with 24 points, but did not score in the fourth quarter. Jordan scored 23 as the Bulls and the Lakers finished their season series at 1-1.
Celtics 119, Bullets 101
Despite leaving midway through the third quarter, King scored 20 points. It wasn't enough, however, as Reggie Lewis had 30 points and Kevin McHale 22 for Boston.
The Celtics wore down Washington with a 17-2 run midway through the second half. The injury-riddled Bullets started with just eight players in uniform, including Charles Jones, who was unable to play.
Timberwolves 110, 76ers 102
Sam Mitchell played every minute and scored a career-high 37 points and Minnesota pulled away in the second overtime.
The Timberwolves, who lost to Cleveland in overtime on Saturday night, scored the first 11 points in double overtime. Philadelphia lost its fourth straight overtime game after winning its first four.
Rockets 143, Warriors 135
Reserve Sleepy Floyd scored 27 of his season-high 30 points in the last 16 minutes as Houston won its first double-overtime game since Dec. 15, 1988.
Floyd made 22 of 27 foul shots. He hit seven in the second overtime as the Rockets outscored Golden State 16-8.
Larry Smith had an NBA season-high 25 rebounds for host Houston. Vernon Maxwell scored 30 points for the Rockets and Mitch Richmond had 29 for the Warriors. Five players fouled out, including three Rockets.
Suns 112, Pistons 97
Kevin Johnson scored 28 points and had 14 assists as Phoenix turned Detroit turnovers into 24 points.
It was the Pistons' first loss since Isiah Thomas was sidelined for the season by wrist surgery and snapped their five-game winning streak.
Bucks 120, Hornets 111
Jay Humphries got 27 points, Ricky Pierce had 25 and Milwaukee scored a season-high 46 points in the third quarter to beat visiting Charlotte.
The game was tied at 46 at halftime before the Bucks broke away. Milwaukee's previous best quarter this season was 41 points.
Dell Curry scored 24 and Kendall Gill had 17 for the Hornets.