Julius Erving played in his first game since Feb. 16, scored 29 points and led the Philadelphia 76ers to a 110-99 victory over the New Jersey Nets Friday night at Philadelphia. The win clinched a playoff berth for the 76ers.
Erving, who missed 18 games with a fractured right middle finger, said he did have some discomfort in his injured finger but it did not give him too much pain during the game. "Now I will just have to try to be patient and take more time to concentrate on my shooting. I didn't take a lot of difficult shots tonight. I hope we can get our team together for the playoffs."
Erving played 34 minutes, making 12 of his 16 field goal attempts and 5 of 6 free throw attempts. Philadelphia Coach Matt Guokas said: "I thought Doc (Erving) had a terrific game, he didn't appear to be winded except in the third quarter. That's to be expected. I was thinking in terms of keeping him at about 24 minutes."
And Philadelphia guard Steve Colter added, "He must have been keeping himself in good shape because he sure looked sharp tonight."
Boston 111, Chicago 106--Michael Jordan, the league's leading scorer, was held to 22 points on his home court, while Larry Bird scored 41 points and Kevin McHale added 21 to help the Celtics end their five-game road losing streak. It was the Celtics' ninth consecutive regular-season victory over the Bulls.
Jordan scored just three baskets in the second half. How did the Celtics stop him?
Danny Ainge said: "I can't forget the night Jordan scored 63 points, especially against me in last year's playoffs, so I figured it was time to start playing defense. Our strategy was to have me and then either Bird or (Robert) Parish double team Jordan, thereby taking away his classic and almost unstoppable jump shot. Then, hoping Jordan would drive to the basket, our two 7-footers, Parish and McHale, were there to block his shot."
The crowd of 18,122 fans at Chicago Stadium gave the Bulls a single-season attendance record of 564,567, passing the 548,844 they drew in 1977-78.
Cleveland 116, Milwaukee 113--Rookie Ron Harper scored 31 points, and rookie Brad Daugherty had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists to help the Cavaliers withstand several charges by the Bucks at Richfield, Ohio.
Milwaukee, which played without guards Sidney Moncrief, Paul Pressey and Junior Bridgeman, was led by Terry Cummings' 29 points.
Cleveland beat Milwaukee for the first time in eight games. The Cavaliers' last victory was a 128-124 decision in Milwaukee on Dec. 13, 1985.
Indiana 100, New York 91--Chuck Person scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Pacers to a victory at Indianapolis.
New York Coach Bob Hill said Person showed he can play both inside and outside. Hill said: "He's very tough. Chuck plays more like a veteran than a rookie. He gets veteran respect, too. I think he's got to be rookie of the year."
Person also had six assists and a steal and was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line.
Gerald Henderson had 23 points and Trent Tucker added 16 playing forward for the injury-plagued Knicks, who fell to 21-49.
Utah 144, San Antonio 133--Karl Malone and Darrell Griffith scored 29 points each as seven Jazz players scored in double figures to beat the Spurs in Salt Lake City.
Ed Nealy, who averages 2.8 points per game, led the Spurs with a career-high 23 points.
Ricky Green had 16 for Utah, with Mark Eaton contributing 12 points, 8 blocked shots and 12 rebounds.
Golden State 106, Seattle 105--Eric (Sleepy) Floyd sank the first of two free throws and missed the second with four seconds left in a game at Seattle, but that was enough to give the Warriors their fourth straight victory.
Rod Higgins scored 23 points for the Warriors, who won for the eighth time in their last 10 games. Xavier McDaniel scored a game-high 31 points to lead Seattle, which has dropped eight of its last 10 games.
After Floyd missed his second free throw, Seattle took a timeout and inbounded the ball at mid-court. Eddie Johnson took a desperation three-pointer that fell short.