Boston's seven-game winning streak was making it impossible for the rest of the Eastern Conference to make up any ground on the first-place Celtics.
Who ya gonna call? How about the Phoenix Suns, the streak busters.The Suns, who stopped the Los Angeles Lakers' 16-game winning streak and 11-game streaks by Portland and Detroit this season, ended the Celtics' seven-game run Tuesday night with a 109-105 victory.
Kevin Johnson scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth period for the Suns, who won their 12th consecutive home game.
"This was another big win for us, especially beating another team that was red-hot," Phoenix coach Cotton Fitzsimmons said. "But this was an uphill battle all night."
Dan Majerle scored 23 points, Xavier McDaniel 22 and Jeff Hornacek 19 for the Suns, 20-4 at home this season. But they made just 37 of 94 shots in reversing the Celtics' 132-103 victory on Jan. 4 in Boston.
"We had to overcome some poor field-goal shooting (37-for-94) and needed all the defense we could get to win," Fitzsimmons said. "Our guys kept battling and fighting. They wouldn't give up."
"The Celtics beat us pretty bad at their place, so we wanted this one bad," Majerle said.
Reggie Lewis led Boston with 23 points, while Brian Shaw had 21 and Robert Parish 21 points and a season-high 20 rebounds.
But the key to the Phoenix defense was holding Larry Bird to 11 points on 5-for-23 shooting.
"Our offense killed us all night long," Boston coach Chris Ford said. "We had periods where we had turnovers and we took bad shots. Our offense bogged down and mental mistakes cost us the game."
The Celtics used a 9-1 run to trail just 102-101 with 2:43 left. But Johnson's two free throws and a foul shot and jumper by Hornacek made it 107-101 with 2:05 remaining.
Shaw's layup brought Boston back to 107-105 with 1:17 to play, but Bird missed two 3-point tries in the final minute.
Trail Blazers 107, Mavericks 100
Portland opened a 13-point lead as Terry Porter scored 13 of his 23 points in the first quarter, then held on to defeat Dallas for its 12th consecutive victory at home.
The Mavericks, who trailed by 18 in the first half and 87-76 with 10 minutes left, closed to 101-98 on Herb Williams' 10-footer with 57 seconds remaining. But Clyde Drexler's steal and Jerome Kersey's blocked shot in the final 20 seconds set up easy baskets that sealed the outcome.
Lakers 112, Rockets 103
Magic Johnson had 18 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds, and his 3-pointer with 8:02 to play gave Los Angeles its first lead of the game at Houston.
James Worthy scored 27 points for the Lakers, who won for the 19th time in 21 games.
76ers 107, SuperSonics 104, OT
Ron Anderson's game-tying 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in regulation and his layup at the start of overtime sparked Philadelphia to a home victory over Seattle.
The SuperSonics led 97-94 with 34 seconds left in regulation on Gary Payton's free throw. Anderson's 24-footer forced the overtime.
Bulls 118, Bullets 113
Michael Jordan scored 40 points to lead Chicago to a club-record 16th straight home victory.
The Bulls improved their record at Chicago Stadium to 21-3 in winning their seventh straight game. Washington lost its sixth straight on the road.
The Bullets twice got within three points in the final 1:33, but Jordan, the NBA's leading scorer, sank a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left for a 115-110 lead that wasn't threatened again.
Hawks 110, Knicks 102
Dominique Wilkins scored 32 points and Atlanta snapped an eight-game road losing streak by winning at New York.
The Hawks, who have tied a franchise record with 17 consecutive victories at home, won for the first time on the road since Jan. 15 at Indiana.
Bucks 116, Heat 90
Milwaukee won at home behind Alvin Robertson's 21 points.
Glen Rice scored nine points during a 16-9 run that cut Miami's 16-point halftime deficit to 66-57 with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
Nets 97, Kings 83
Derrick Coleman scored 19 of his 27 points in the first half and Chris Morris added 25 and a career-high 18 rebounds as New Jersey handed Sacramento its 20th consecutive road loss.
Pacers 115, Hornets 102
Chuck Person scored 30 points as Indiana won for the first time in four games at the Charlotte Coliseum.
Reggie Miller added 29 for the Pacers, who won their third straight game, while the Hornets lost for the 15th time in 18 games.