After the Philadelphia 76ers routed the Washington Bullets Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five playoff series, 76er center Moses Malone figured it was all over.
"They're on death row and we've showed them the electric chair," Malone said.
The execution has been delayed at least two days. With former USC star Cliff Robinson igniting a blistering third quarter rally Wednesday night at Landover, Md., the Bullets stayed alive with a 118-100 victory.
Robinson scored 14 of his 21 points in the third quarter, outscoring the entire 76ers' team in the period. The Bullets led, 60-55, at halftime, but after their 30-13 margin in the third, the final period became garbage time.
After the 76ers won the first two games, Coach Gene Shue of the Bullets said the only way his team could beat Philadelphia would be for the 76ers to play poorly and the Bullets to play a near-perfect game.
The 76ers were bad, all right. For instance, Andrew Toney, who made 13 of 22 shots and scored 31 points Sunday, made 3 of 16 shots Wednesday.
Malone wasn't much better. He made 7 of 16 shots and had only six rebounds in 30 minutes.
Jeff Ruland, who missed most of the last two months of the regular season, seems to be getting stronger with each game. He scored 25 points, making 11 of 15 shots, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 5 assists to outplay Malone.
"This was my first playoff," said Robinson, who spent five seasons with also-rans before joining the Bullets, "and I didn't want to get out without at least one win. Maybe we have the momentum to win again Friday. That would set up a fantastic finale."
Chicago 109, Milwaukee 107--Michael Jordan scored 35 points, including a baseline jumper with 17 seconds left at Chicago, to enable the Bulls to stave off elimination.
Jordan scored seven points in the last three minutes to help the Bulls break a 100-100 deadlock and cut the Bucks' lead in the best-of-five series to 2-1.
In a tremendous performance for a rookie, Jordan had 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. He had considerable help from Orlando Woolridge, who scored 28 points.
The Bucks lost despite a tremendous effort by Terry Cummings. Cummings scored 37 points, making 10 of 15 shots. He also had nine rebounds to lead the Bucks in that department.
Detroit 116, New Jersey 115--Isiah Thomas sank a 20-foot baseline jumper with two seconds remaining at East Rutherford, N.J., to knock the Nets out of the playoffs.
The Pistons, who dropped five of six games to the Nets during the regular season, won the first round series, 3-0, and will meet the winner of the Boston-Cleveland series in the second round.
The Nets led, 115-110, with 1:39 left, but didn't score again. Thomas made two free throws as did Terry Tyler to make it close and Thomas, who had 11 assists, applied the clincher as time was running out.
Utah 112, Houston 104--There were some talk about six weeks ago that the Rockets, with their Twin Towers, Ralph Sampson and Akeem Olajuwon, might beat out the Lakers in the West and make the championship round.
If the Rockets don't do something in a hurry, they won't be playing the Lakers until next season.
After Adrian Dantley scored 29 points and Thurl Bailey 22 at Salt Lake City, the favored Rockets are only a defeat away from elimination. The Jazz can wrap up the series with a win Friday night at Salt Lake City.
Sampson had 20 points and 14 rebounds, Olajuwon 26 points and 16 rebounds.