The Portland Trail Blazers may be the NBA's best team, but they were no match for the Atlanta Hawks, the league's hottest home team.
The Blazers led 80-72 late in the third period Thursday night, but John Battle led a 22-5 burst that carried Atlanta to a 117-109 victory, the Hawks' 21st in a row at the Omni."We wanted to win real bad and someone had to do something for us to win," said Battle, who had 18 of his 26 points in the final period.
Battle had nine points and Duane Ferrell added seven as the Hawks turned the 80-72 deficit into a 94-85 lead. Battle capped the surge when he barely beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 5:49 to play.
The Trail Blazers, who lost their third in a row, got within three points with 4:26 remaining, but Battle had five points in an 8-0 run that put the game away.
Knicks 100, Spurs 93
New York spotted San Antonio a 19-1 lead, then got 27 points and 15 rebounds from Patrick Ewing to win its fourth in a row.
A jumper by Gerald Wilkins, who had 22 points, gave the Knicks the lead for good at 89-87 with 2:42 left, as the Spurs dropped behind Utah in the Midwest Division race.
Nets 98, Bucks 93
Drazen Petrovic scored 10 of his 22 points in the final four minutes and Derrick Coleman added 21 points and 11 rebounds to lift New Jersey over visiting Milwaukee. Petrovic hit a 3-pointer with 3:59 to play to snap an 82-82 tie.
Heat 100, Pistons 98
Sherman Douglas scored 27 points, including the tie-breaking basket with 1:13 left as Miami handed visiting Detroit its fourth consecutive loss.
Douglas' driving 8-footer snapped a 96-96 tie and he followed with a steal that led to Grant Long's follow shot.
Lakers 121, Nuggets 108
Magic Johnson had 18 points and 14 assists as the Lakers wrapped up a six-game road trip by beating Denver for the eighth straight time and handing the Nuggets their 10th loss in 11 games.
Clippers 83, Rockets 80
Akeem Olajuwon looked as if he'd never been gone, scoring 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds while playing for the first time since missing 25 games with an eye injury. But still it wasn't enough to give Houston a win.