Opinions on the state of the Detroit Pistons vary depending on the locker room.
To the Cleveland Cavaliers, who beat Detroit 94-90 Wednesday night, the Pistons did not look much different from the teams that won back-to-back NBA championships.To the Pistons themselves, the Cleveland loss provided a not-so-complimentary glance in the mirror.
"I personally think Detroit is the same as last year," said Cleveland's Larry Nance, who scored 22 points. "They play the same way. If Detroit gets past the first round of the playoffs, they'll definitely be the team to beat."
One might ask why Nance questioned the Pistons' ability to advance past Round One, given his statement that Detroit appears to be the same team that took out Los Angeles and Portland in the last two NBA finals. That doubt probably stems from the health of Detroit's Isiah Thomas, who played his fourth game since returning from a 32-game absence with wrist surgery.
Thomas led the Pistons with 20 points but did not display his pre-injury shooting touch. He hit six of 15 shots, missing several short jumpers off dribble penetrations - shots he used to thrive on.
Bulls 101, Pacers 96
Michael Jordan scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Chicago won at Indiana by limiting the Pacers to six baskets in the final period.
The Bulls, who trailed by as many as nine in the first half, took the lead for good on consecutive three-point plays by Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant 38 seconds apart.
Pippen put the Bulls ahead 88-86 with 5:51 left and Grant made it 91-88 with a layup and free throw.
SuperSonics 140, Clippers 108
At Tacoma, Wash., Benoit Benjamin scored 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting, helping Seattle set a franchise record for field-goal accuracy by making 63.5 percent of its shots against Los Angeles.
The Sonics hit 54 of 85 shots, eclipsing the previous mark of 62.9 percent against the Clippers on Nov. 26, 1985.
Ken Norman scored 27 points and Danny Manning 21 for the Clippers, who played without Charles Smith because of a bruised right thigh.
76ers 100, Knicks 84
At Philadelphia, the 76ers improved their record to 3-1 since Charles Barkley's knee injury as Ron Anderson had 25 points and 10 rebounds against New York.
Hersey Hawkins added 18 points as the 76ers won for the fifth time in six games.
Patrick Ewing had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost for the ninth time in 13 games and played again without injured starters Charles Oakley and Gerald Wilkins.
Philadelphia began the final period with a 72-58 advantage, and the Knicks never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Heat 112, Bullets 106
Rony Seikaly, with just 57 points in the previous six games, had 27 points and 16 rebounds and Kevin Edwards converted two three-point plays in the fourth quarter as Miami won at home against Washington.
The outcome snapped a four-game losing streak for the Heat and extended the Bullets' losing string to four.
Glen Rice scored 24 points for the Heat, who led 94-92 after Edwards' first three-point play and 97-95 after the second.
Pervis Ellison had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Bullets.