Maurice Cheeks scored nine of his 22 points in the closing minutes Wednesday night at Philadelphia to help the 76ers hold off a determined rally by the Chicago Bulls, 106-98.
A 10-0 run midway through the fourth quarter enabled the Bulls to cut the lead to 90-86. It was the signal for Cheeks to go back to work. He scored eight of the 76ers' next 10 points as the lead was built to 100-92.
It was a big game for the playmaking guard. He was 7 for 11 from the field and had 9 assists.
George Gervin scored 30 points for the Bulls, but they lost their fourth straight and 10th in the last 12 games.
The Bulls have also lost Michael Jordan for at least four more weeks. "I listened to the advice of the three doctors, and I have decided that the best course of action is not to play until I go through another examination in four weeks," Jordan said. He has been sidelined by a broken foot since Nov. 5. In his absence, the Bulls signed Michael Holton, former UCLA star, to a 10-day contract.
Sitting on the 76ers' bench was guard Andrew Toney. He was activated before the game, but Coach Matt Guokas said he was not quite ready to return to action.
Toney was hurt in the third game of the season and hasn't played since.
Dallas 117, Denver 110--Sam Perkins scored six of his 17 points in a 12-2 run in the closing minutes at Dallas that enabled the Mavericks to win for the eighth time in the last nine games.
The Nuggets welcomed back Calvin Natt, but lost Wayne Cooper early in the game with a torn calf muscle. Natt has missed 12 games with ankle and shoulder injuries.
The Nuggets led, 100-96, with 6:33 left, but the Mavericks scored the next 9 points and 12 of 14 to regain command.
Milwaukee 103, Indiana 97--The Bucks trailed, 64-46, at halftime at Indianapolis. After Coach Don Nelson gave a short talk during intermission, they charged back to win.
The Bucks shot 78% from the field in the third quarter to draw within a point, 80-79, and moved ahead in the fourth quarter.
It was not until Paul Pressey sank two free throws with 1:10 remaining, though, that Milwaukee took the lead for good, 98-97.
Detroit 113, New York 99--Patrick Ewing joined a long list of Knicks sidelined with injury and, in this game at Pontiac, Mich., the makeshift lineup was no match for the Pistons.
With Ewing, Bill Cartwright, Pat Cummings and Bernard King all out with injuries, the Pistons' center, Bill Laimbeer, controlled the game.
Laimbeer had 21 points and 13 rebounds. Isiah Thomas contributed 14 assists. Gerald Wilkins had 20 to lead the Knicks, who are 18-33.
Ewing is expected to miss at least two more games because both knees are sore. The standout rookie center missed the All-Star game.