Detroit Pistons Coach Chuck Daly needs a few good healthy men.
The Pistons, missing Isiah Thomas and John Salley and using a gimpy Joe Dumars, are lacking in depth - as evidenced at home Sunday when the Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a 102-96 victory in overtime.The Pistons led 52-45 at halftime, but clung to a 74-73 lead after three periods. After Los Angeles took an 82-80 lead with 7:34 left in regulation, Detroit fought back to forge four ties, the last at 90-90 with 1:10 to go. But in overtime, the Pistons went scoreless for nearly four minutes.
A.C. Green broke the final tie on a layup with 1:11 left in overtime and added two free throws in the final minute. Magic Johnson led the Lakers with 31 points, and James Worthy had 29.
"They're a mentally tough team, and when they get some guys back, they'll play a lot better," said Lakers Coach Mike Dunleavy. "I feel sorry for them."
But Daly wants no pity.
"I don't think you can go around looking for excuses . . . that isn't the answer," he said. "Fatigue is part of the season. They're playing practically as many minutes as we are. Excuses aren't going to do you any good. We've had guys who've wanted more minutes and now they're getting them."
James Edwards led Detroit with 22 points; Mark Aguirre came off the bench to score 20, and Dennis Rodman had 15 points and 17 rebounds.
The Pistons have signed veteran guard Gerald Henderson, who played most of last year with Detroit, to a 10-day contract, replacing Salley, who went on the injured list with back spasm. Henderson is to provide some depth at point guard, where Thomas is lost for the rest of the regular season following wrist surgery.
"With Isiah, they're the best team in basketball," Johnson said. "Without him they're struggling, but there are a lot of character guys on that team. I could see the pain in Joe's eyes, but he came back to play. That's a sign of character."
Pacers 115, Celtics 109
At Indianapolis, Reggie Miller scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to rally Indiana from a 17-point deficit to its sixth straight victory, its longest winning streak since February 1988. Chuck Person led the Pacers with 28 points and Detlef Schrempf had 21; for Boston, Reggie Lewis had 27 points and Brian Shaw 19.
Rockets 100, Wolves 91
At Minneapolis, Minn., Eric "Sleepy" Floyd came off the bench to score 21 points, including 12 on 3-pointers, and Larry Smith had 23 rebounds to lead Houston to its 11th victory in 14 tries. The Rockets hit nine 3-pointers - the most ever scored against Minnesota. Pooh Richardson led the Timberwolves with 21 points.
Knicks 108, Heat 92
At Miami, Gerald Wilkins led a balanced New York attack past the Heat with 21 points. Kiki Vandeweghe scored 20, Patrick Ewing had 18, and Maurice Cheeks and Brian Quinnett had 14 each. The Knicks put the game away with a 10-2 run in the third quarter. Glen Rice paced Miami with 21 points.
Magic 120, Kings 90
At Orlando, Fla., reserves Jerry Reynolds and Nick Anderson scored 23 and 20 points respectively to lead improved Orlando to its seventh victory in 11 games and 17th of the year - just one shy of last year's total of 18. Sacramento, which has lost 23 straight road games and five on a current six-game trip, was led by Antoine Carr with 25 points and rookie Lionel Simmons with 23 points and 15 rebounds.Clippers 129, Nuggets 112
At Los Angeles, the Clippers recorded a franchise-record 68 rebounds in their triumph over Denver. Ron Harper led five LA players in double figures with 22 points, and Charles Smith had 18 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. Denver's Michael Adams had a game-high 29 points.
Spurs 95, Trail Blazers 88
At Portland, Ore., Willie Anderson scored 25 points and David Robinson added 20 points and 12 rebounds to help the Spurs end both the Trail Blazers' 13-game home-court winning streak and their own four-game road losing streak. The Blazers, who hadn't lost a home game to the Spurs in more than five years, dropped only their third home game this season while producing their lowest point total of the year. Kevin Duckworth led Portland with 18 points.