Even with the presence of the Twin Towers (Ralph Sampson and Akeem Olajuwon), the Houston Rockets can't break their jinx in Philadelphia's Spectrum.
Charles Barkley's tremendous performance--a career-high 31 points and 19 rebounds--led the 76ers to an easy 126-108 victory. It was the 19th loss in a row at the Spectrum for the Rockets, who last won there in January 1974.
Barkley, 6-6 and a bulky 260, and 6-10 Moses Malone went inside and outmuscled Sampson (7-4) and Olajuwon (7-0). Malone had 24 points. Both Sampson and Olajuwon fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Long before, the 76ers, who had been having trouble winning when they played on successive nights, clinched the victory. They never trailed, and by the middle of the second period, they had a 48-32 lead. The Rockets, 4-9 on the road this season, were never closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
"Charles played very well for us," Coach Matt Guokas told UPI. "He shot well (12 for 16) and took control of the boards. Charles is an emotional guy, but it's the kind of emotion we need as a team. He is beginning to develop the consistency and control we expect from him."
Boston 137, Dallas 117--Larry Bird does not take kindly to defeat. In any game following a Celtic loss, he almost invariably has a big night.
Bird scored 17 of his 35 points in an 8 1/2-minute span of the fourth quarter at Boston as the Celtics bounced back from Tuesday night's loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Early in the fourth quarter, when the Mavericks cut the Celtic lead to 93-86, Bird went to work. He made two successive layups to start a 35-20 spurt that ended Dallas' hopes.
The Mavericks have never beaten the Celtics. They are 0-11 against Boston.
New Jersey 113, Utah 98--Otis Birdsong, who was benched for one game recently when he forgot his uniform, and was used sparingly in another game, is out of Coach Dave Wohl's doghouse.
In this game at East Rutherford, N.J., Birdsong and the other Net guard, Micheal Ray Richardson, destroyed the Jazz. Birdsong played 46 minutes, scored 24 points and had 8 rebounds. Richardson had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists in 35 minutes.
Adrian Dantley continued his drive to win the scoring title by scoring 32 points for the Jazz. Rookie Karl Malone went 0 for 10 for Utah.