It will take more than a knock on the head to make Magic Johnson lose his effectiveness. And it will take more than 16 victories pin a row to make the Los Angeles Lakers lose their perspective.
"It was no problem, and now it's back to playing basketball," Johnson said after scoring 22 points and handing out 13 assists as the Lakers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-102 Tuesday night.Johnson showed no ill effects from a mild concussion sustained Sunday when he tripped and was accidentally kicked by Chicago's Horace Grant. Johnson, rendered unconscious for about a minute by that blow, took slightly less than that against the Clippers to show he was ready to play.
He sank a 3-pointer on his first shot 58 seconds into the game.
"There was no problem at all," he said of his quick start.
Then, when the Clippers threatened late in the game, he made quick work of them, scoring five straight points to put the game out of reach.
Despite their run, the Lakers are 17 vic
tories short of tying their own NBA record set 19 seasons ago. And they're being realistic about it.
"We're not thinking 33 in a row because teams are too good now," Johnson said. "It will be tough for any team ever to do that."
By winning, the Lakers surpassed their second-best streak ever, 15 in a row in 1987-88. Ironically, it was the Clippers who ended the blitz with a victory at the Sports Arena.
But Tuesday night's game was at the Forum, where the Lakers haven't lost to the Clippers since 1981, a span of 26 games.
Pistons 107, 76ers 98
Mark Aguirre came off the bench to score 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as Detroit rallied to beat slumping Philadelphia.
Vinnie Johnson, starting for the injured Isiah Thomas, also had 21 points. Joe Dumars added 19 points as the Pistons won for the sixth time in seven games since Thomas was injured.
Charles Barkley, playing despite a sprained left ankle, had 23 points to lead the 76ers, losers in seven of their last nine games. Armon Gilliam added 22 points.
Hawks 118, Cavaliers 114
Dominique Wilkins scored 14 of his 40 points in the final 7:50 as Atlanta snapped a six-game losing streak and won its 15th straight home game by beating woeful Cleveland.
Duane Ferrell's driving layup with 8:25 remaining broke a tie at 87 and gave Atlanta a lead it never relinquished.
It was the fourth road loss in a row and 22nd in 27 games overall for Cleveland, which got 28 points from Darnell Valentine, 23 from Henry James and 19 from Larry Nance. Glenn Rivers added 19 points for Atlanta.
Magic 118, Knicks 116
Scott Skiles sparked a 16-6 fourth-quarter burst and Greg Kite hit a layup with 37 seconds remaining as Orlando won for the third time in four games.
Skiles scored 23 points and Dennis Scott 20 as the Magic handed the Knicks their fifth loss in seven games.
The Knicks overcame an eight-point deficit to tie the game at 116 with 1:01 left. But Kite hit the decisive shot from the left baseline with time running out on the shot clock.
New York got 28 points from Kiki Vandeweghe and 21 from Patrick Ewing, who missed a turnaround jumper with 28 seconds remaining. Maurice Cheeks' jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Mavericks 114, Pacers 109
Derek Harper scored 24 points, and had a key steal and offensive rebound in the last 30 seconds as Dallas rallied in the second half.
Harper stole the ball from George McCloud at midcourt and fed Herb Williams for a decisive dunk and a 111-106 lead with 20 seconds left. Harper got his key rebound with 11 seconds left, and Dallas sank three free throws to hold on.
Rolando Blackman added 22 points for the Mavericks. Reggie Miller led Indiana with 26 points and Chuck Person added 18.
Warriors 112, Spurs 106
Chris Mullin had 32 points, including Golden State's first seven in the final period, as the Warriors beat injury-riddled San Antonio, marking the first consecutive losses this season for the Spurs.
San Antonio, an overtime loser Saturday against Houston, was playing without point guard Rod Strickland and forward Terry Cummings. Both have broken hands.
David Robinson and Willie Anderson scored 21 points each to lead the Spurs. Point guard Avery Johnson, making his first start, added 19 points. Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond had 23 points apiece for Golden State.
Suns 126, Nuggets 103
Kevin Johnson scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half as Phoenix beat Denver, which lost a six-game winning streak and red-hot Michael Adams.
Adams, who finished with seven points, strained his left hamstring in the first period. He had led the Nuggets in their season-best winning streak by scoring 30 or more points in five straight games.
Dan Majerle added 19 points, Xavier McDaniel 17 and Jeff Hornacek 15 for the Suns, who beat the Nuggets for the sixth straight time. Johnson finished with 12 assists. Blair Rasmussen and rookie Chris Jackson led Denver with 16 points each.