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NBA Roundup : Final Playoff Spot in the West Goes to Nuggets, 142-114

April 15, 1987|DAN HAFNER

The Denver Nuggets played the second half Tuesday night at Denver the way they used to do it and nailed down the final playoff berth in the West.

With Alex English setting a hot scoring pace, the Nuggets scored 81 points in the second half and coasted to a 142-114 victory over Portland.

The Nuggets needed one victory in their last three games or a Phoenix defeat to clinch a playoff spot.

At halftime, the Nuggets held only a 61-60 lead. But English and Lafayette Lever brought the Nuggets out firing in the third quarter. They opened with a 11-3 run. Later, they had a 30-8 spurt that turned it into a rout.

English finished with 30 points and climbed past former Laker great, Gail Goodrich, to become the No. 16 all-time scorer with 19,199 points.

"We had a number of chances to wrap this thing up earlier," Coach Doug Moe said. "But each time, we let the other team off the hook. This time, we just went out there and played the way we used to when we were the dominant offensive force.

"Now, we need to win the next two and keep our momentum going right into the playoffs."

Cleveland 113, New Jersey 95--The tough Cavalier defense held the Nets to four points in the first 6:20 of the fourth quarter at Richfield, Ohio, and the Cavaliers went on to win their 30th game.

The Cavaliers failed to make the playoffs, but, with three rookies in the starting lineup, have won more games than they did last season.

Phoenix 132, Sacramento 123--The Suns made sure they didn't eliminate themselves. In this game at Phoenix, Larry Nance had 35 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots to give the Suns their ninth win in the last 10 games.

After the Kings closed to four points early in the final quarter, Walter Davis, who finished with 27 points, scored half the points in an 8-0 spurt that enabled the Suns to win it.

Seattle 103, Utah 102--Thurl Bailey missed a six-footer and Darrell Griffith a desperate 35-footer in the closing seconds at Seattle, and the SuperSonics just lasted for the win.

Tom Chambers scored 30 points for the Sonics, who remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Denver in the battle for the seventh playoff spot. The team that finished eighth plays the Lakers.

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