The Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons proved they could win again. The Houston Rockets proved they could beat the Lakers on the road. And the San Antonio Spurs proved they could take a big lead and hold it. All that psychic baggage was purged Sunday, an unusual day in that five of six NBA games were won by the road team.
Detroit, in its longest losing streak since 1985-86, won for the first time in six games, beating the Clippers 107-98 as four Pistons scored 20 or more.
The Blazers, despite having the NBA's best record, took a season-high four-game losing streak and a dwindling Pacific Division lead into Sunday's meeting at Boston Garden. By the end of the day, Portland's lead was back to 2 1/2 games after it defeated the Celtics 116-107 and Houston beat the Los Angeles Lakers 104-95 at the Forum. The Rockets, who could meet the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, hadn't won in 14 regular-season games at the Forum, since Jan. 30, 1985.
At Landover, Md., the Spurs beat the Bullets 107-85 after blowing 18- and 17-point leads in losses at New York and Boston.
Pistons 107, Clippers 98
Joe Dumars scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit, whose five-game losing streak was its worst since losing six in a row from Dec. 21, 1985, to Jan. 3, 1986.
Trail Blazers 116, Celtics 107
Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and Danny Ainge scored 28 of Portland's 33 fourth-quarter points. With the Trail Blazers leading 94-93, Porter's three-pointer with 5:23 left kicked off an 8-0 run that made the score 102-93 with 4:32 to go.
Rockets 104, Lakers 95
Kenny Smith scored 25 of his 34 points in the second half.
Vlade Divac scored a season-high 23 points and James Worthy added 21 for the Lakers.
Spurs 107, Bullets 85
San Antonio handed Washington its season-high sixth straight loss, holding Bernard King to 19 points. Terry Cummings scored 22 points and Sean Elliott 21 for the Spurs.
Hawks 115, Bucks 106
Dominique Wilkins had 25 points and 11 rebounds as Atlanta beat Milwaukee for the first time in three tries.