Scott Skiles, signed to a new contract earlier in the day, scored 26 points and Otis Smith and Jerry Reynolds hit four free throws in the final 18 seconds to help the Orlando Magic beat the Boston Celtics for the first time, 102-98 Saturday night.
Skiles' jumper in the lane gave the second-year team a 98-96 lead and two free throws by Smith put the Magic ahead by four points. Reynolds sealed the outcome with 2.6 seconds to go after Boston closed within 100-98 on Brian Shaw's basket.The victory was the 27th for Orlando, which won only 18 in its inaugural season. Skiles' consistency has been one of the keys to the improvement and the Magic rewarded him earlier Saturday with a multi-year contract believed to be worth nearly $2 million per year.
Boston, which played without Larry Bird, used a 16-3 spurt to build a 10-point lead in the third quarter. But the Celtics missed three of four free throws in the last 2:04, and also had a costly turnover with 26 seconds left.
Robert Parish led Boston with 25 points, but the team's chances for victory took a severe blow when he dribbled the ball off his foot with Orlando leading 98-96. Shaw added 21 points and Kevin McHale 18.
Reynolds finished with 23 points for Orlando and Smith scored 18, including a pair of jump shots and a free throw that enabled the Magic to pull within 95-94 with 1:48 remaining.
The victory was Orlando's first in six games against the Celtics, who are 29-4 against expansion teams in the last three years. Bird missed the game because of back spasms, the same problem that sidelined him for 15 games in January and February.
Hawks 137, Pacers 110
At Atlanta, Dominique Wilkins scored 30 points, Spud Webb 27 and Glenn Rivers 25 as the Atlanta Hawks broke from a late third-quarter tie and crushed the Indiana Pacers.
Atlanta snapped a four-game losing streak and opened a 21/2-game lead over the Pacers in a battle for the No. 6 spot in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs. It was Indiana's fourth loss in a row on the road.
Chuck Person and Detlef Schrempf led the Pacers with 22 points apiece and Michael Williams added 19.
The teams were tied 86-86 when John Battle's jumper put the Hawks in front to stay with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter. Battle's basket started a 10-0 run that featured four points by Kevin Willis. Indiana cut the deficit to 98-90 after three.
After Moses Malone got the first point of the fourth quarter, Rivers scored Atlanta's next nine points as the Hawks led 108-98 with 7:19 remaining.
The Pacers cut it to 108-102 on two free throws by Person and a field goal by Schrempf with 6:20 left. Schrempf's basket was the last field goal by the Pacers until Randy Wittman scored from the right side with five seconds to play.
Wilkins, Webb and Sidney Moncrief each scored four points in a 15-2 run that gave Atlanta a 123-104 lead with three minutes remaining as the Hawks steadily pulled away.
Knicks 101, Pistons 88
At New York, the New York Knicks clinched the final Eastern Conference playoff spot as Patrick Ewing scored 14 of his 35 points in the decisive fourth quarter of a victory over Detroit, snapping the Pistons' five-game winning streak.
The outcome also sealed the Chicago Bulls' second division title in franchise history. The two-time defending NBA champion Pistons had won the Central Division three consecutive years.
The Pistons trailed 72-70 after a three-point play by Isiah Thomas with 10:56 left, but a jumper and dunk by John Starks started a 16-4 spurt that Ewing capped with eight straight Knicks points, giving them an 88-74 advantage with 6:31 to go. Later in the period, New York extended the margin to 96-78, their largest lead of the game.
The Knicks, who blew a 24-point lead in a loss to Chicago on Thursday, led by as many as 16 against the Pistons before Detroit outscored New York 30-17 in the third quarter, with Dumars scoring 16 of his 30 points and Thomas eight of his 16 in the period.
The outburst cut the Knicks' 15-point halftime lead to 68-66 going into the final 12 minutes.
The Pistons' only lead of the game was 2-0 as they missed 18 of 23 shots in the first quarter, which ended with New York leading 25-12, a season-low for Detroit in one period. The Knicks broke away from an 8-8 tie as Ewing scored eight points during a 17-4 spurt in the last 7:03 of the quarter.