Michael Jordan occasionally takes his teammates to dinner in a gesture that shows how important he thinks they are to the magnificent season he is having.
Jordan is buying once again after scoring 61 points Wednesday night at Pontiac, Mich., to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 125-120 overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons.
It was Jordan's off-balance jumper with 14 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime, but it was the sharpshooting of Sedale Threatt that brought victory in the five-minute extra session.
Threatt scored eight points in overtime, while Jordan, in his highest-scoring regular-season game, added 4 to the 57 he scored in regulation. In a playoff game last spring, Jordan scored 63 points against the champion Boston Celtics.
Jordan, who broke Kelly Tripucka's Silverdome record of 56, set against the Bulls in 1983, scored 58 against New Jersey just six nights ago.
Together, the Pistons' stars, Adrian Dantley and Isiah Thomas, outscored Jordan--barely. Dantley had 32 and Thomas 31 as the Pistons lost their third game in a row and saw their lead in the Central Division over Atlanta cut to a half-game.
After making the tying basket in regulation, Jordan prevented the Pistons from winning it when, with two seconds left, he tipped away a Thomas pass intended for Dantley, who was under the basket.
Jordan scored 26 points in the fourth quarter after getting a three-minute rest.
"I felt like everything was going my way and the guys started setting great picks," Jordan said. "I felt fresh after the rest, and I went for it. It was a big win for us.
"You're never really unstoppable, but I felt close to it in the fourth quarter. I even came up with some shots people haven't seen.
Washington 117, New Jersey 114--Jeff Malone outscored New Jersey, 18-4, in a five-minute burst in the second half at Landover, Md., and finished with a career-high 48 points.
During the spurt, which began with 37 seconds left in the third quarter, Malone made 7 of 7 shots and 4 of 4 free throws. He gave the Bullets a 105-89 lead, and they barely lasted. It was the 15th consecutive road loss for the Nets.
The other Malone, Moses, had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Bullets. Moses sat out the last quarter because of a stiff neck. Each Malone had 17 points at halftime.
Boston 123, Utah 105--Coach Frank Layden figured that going on the road was a break for his Jazz, because the team had gotten stale at home.
Layden figured wrong. In two of the seven games that Utah will play on the 10-day trip, all the Jazz has done was allow the New York Knicks to end a five-game losing streak and permit the Celtic regulars to get a good rest.
The Celtics built a 33-point lead before the third quarter was over. Kevin McHale, Larry Bird and Robert Parish scored 81 of Boston's 101 points in the first three quarters and retired for the night.
The frontline trio had 58 of Boston's first 66 points. Their task was made easier when the Utah giant, 7-foot 3-inch Mark Eaton, had to leave because of bruised ribs after playing 15 minutes.
New York 102, Philadelphia 99--Gerald Wilkins scored 41 points, 17 in a third-quarter burst at Philadelphia that enabled the Knicks to overcome a 16-point deficit and win on the road for only the fifth time in 31 games.
With Patrick Ewing contributing eight points, the Knicks outscored the 76ers, 35-14, in the third quarter.
Charles Barkley of the 76ers had an league season high of 16 offensive rebounds and also scored 28 points.
Houston 108,Sacramento 102--Reserve guard Allen Leavell made three free throws in the final eight seconds of overtime to assure the Rockets of the win at Sacramento.
Houston's Jim Petersen scored a career-high 28 points, while Otis Thorpe led Sacramento with 30 points and 15 rebounds.
Sacramento center LaSalle Thompson hit an 18-foot jumper from the baseline with two seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 89-89 and send the game into overtime.
Dallas 115, Denver 107--Mark Aguirre scored 16 of his 38 points in the third quarter at Dallas, and the Mavericks handed the slumping Nuggets their fourth loss in a row.
It was too much for Denver Coach Doug Moe, who didn't even make it through the first quarter because referee Earl Strom hit him with technicals twice.
The Mavericks (39-20) have the third-best National Basketball Assn. record. For the first time in their history, they are 19 games above .500. They lead the Midwest Division by 6 1/2 games.