The Milwaukee Bucks have owned the Central Division ever since they joined it for the 1980-81 season. They are now in danger of foreclosure.
Steve Stipanovich scored 9 of his 24 points early in the fourth quarter Wednesday night at Indianapolis as the Indiana Pacers humbled the Bucks, 125-108.
The loss dropped the Bucks 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks in the division race. With only 10 games left, there isn't much hope for a seventh consecutive title.
It was the fourth loss in the last five games for the Bucks, who have been hampered by injuries, have been inconsistent even when healthy. Sidney Moncrief and Paul Pressey have both missed recent games with injuries.
While it has been a disappointing season for the Bucks, it has been an enjoyable one for the Pacers. With a 34-35 record, only a collapse can prevent them from making the playoffs for the first time since 1981.
In their first season under Jack Ramsay, they have made tremendous progress. Already they have won eight more games than they won all last season.
They led only 90-81 going into the fourth quarter, but Stipanovich scored nine points in dan 11-2 run in the first 2:20 of the quarter to turn it into a rout.
The Pacers' magic number for clinching a playoff berth is six. The only hitch is that eight of their last 13 games are on the road.
Golden State 127, Detroit 115--Joe Barry Carroll scored 33 points, including seven in the last two minutes, at Oakland to lead the Warriors to their third victory in a row.
The Warriors moved ahead of Seattle into third place in the Pacific Division.
The Pistons, who were playing the third game of a tough seven-game trip, fell 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the Central Division.
The Warriors are in sixth place among clubs trying for a playoff spot in the West.