Michael Jordan scored 37 points, including 14 straight in the fourth quarter, and Horace Grant added 17 points Saturday night as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-98 to win their seventh straight game.
Jordan scored 28 of his points after halftime as the Bulls beat Cleveland for the 10th straight game and improved their NBA-best record to 48-15. The Cavaliers were led by 24 points from Larry Nance, 23 from John "Hot Rod" Williams, and 20 from Brad Daugherty.Cleveland shot 71 percent in the first half and led 59-50 at halftime, but Jordan scored seven in a 13-2 Chicago run in the third quarter that gave the Bulls a 73-67 lead with 3:08 left in the period. Cleveland scored six of the final eight points of the quarter to trail 77-74 going into the fourth quarter, and the Cavs, with Jordan on the bench, scored the first six points of the final period to lead 80-77 with 10:14 to play.
Cleveland led 83-81 when Jordan re-entered the game with 8:26 left, and then the NBA's leading scorer just took over. He hit two free throws, an 18-footer, then converted a pair of three-point plays to give Chicago a 91-85 lead with 7:01 left to play.
Jordan finished his scoring spree by hitting a driving layup and a 20-footer that put Chicago up 95-89.
The Bulls led 99-92 after a Grant basket, but the Cavaliers cut the lead to 99-96 on a Nance jump hook with 2:35 to play. A Jordan free throw and a basket by Williams cut the Chicago lead to two, and Scottie Pippen made one of two free throws to make the score 101-98 with 14.2 seconds left.
Cleveland then called a timeout, but when they got the ball in play the Cavs could manage only a long 2-point attempt by Daugherty, who had his foot on the 3-point line, and Pippen grabbed the rebound and made a foul shot to ice the game.
Pippen finished with 16 points while John Paxson added 12.
Nets 110, Bullets 86
At East Rutherford, N.J., Bill Fitch became the fourth NBA coach to win 800 games as the New Jersey Nets took control early against the struggling Washington Bullets and rolled to a victory.
Fitch, 56, joins Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsay and Sacramento coach Dick Motta in the 800-club. He still has a way to go to catch Auerbach, the all-time leader with 938 wins.
Pistons 106, Magic 99
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Vinnie Johnson and Joe Dumars scored 21 points apiece and Bill Laimbeer had 20 as the Detroit Pistons stayed unbeaten in seven games against the Orlando Magic with a victory.
Johnson, Dumars and Limbeer combined for 18 of Detroit's 27 fourth-quarter points as the Pistons avoided blowing an 18-point halftime lead and clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Warriors 117, Mavericks 105
At Dallas, Mitch Richmond scored 18 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, lifting the Golden State Warriors to a victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Tim Hardaway had 33 points and 10 assists and Chris Mullin 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Warriors won for the fourth time in five games.
Herb Williams scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who have won only three of its last 14 starts.
Kings 92, Spurs 85
At Sacramento, Calif., Jim Les followed a steal with a 3-point basket with 49 seconds left in the game as the Sacramento Kings ended a seven-game losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs with a victory.
David Robinson, who had 25 points and 19 rebounds for the Spurs, scored on a short jumper to narrow the Kings' lead to 85-82 with 1:24 left in the game.
Suns 128, Hawks 116
At Phoenix, Kevin Johnson scored seven of his 27 points in the final 4:27 as the Phoenix Suns beat the Atlanta Hawks and clinched a Western Conference playoff spot.
Tom Chambers added 24 points and Dan Majerle 22 for the Suns, who defeated Atlanta for the fifth straight time and are 5-0 at home this season against Central Division competition.
Dominique Wilkins paced the Hawks with 29 points, but only six came in the second half and none in the fourth quarter.