Chuck Person sank a 20-foot shot from the corner with two seconds left Saturday night at Chicago to give the Indiana Pacers a 111-110 victory that knocked the Bulls out of the unbeaten ranks.
The Pacers led most of the way, but Michael Jordan rallied the Bulls throughout. Last season's scoring champion had 37 points in 40 minutes.
While Person scored the winning basket, it was a three-point shot by talented Pacer rookie Reggie Miller that set the stage for the Bulls' first loss after four victories.
The Bulls led, 110-106, with 15 seconds left. Miller fired his bomb with six seconds left, and when Charles Oakley made an errant inbounds pass, the Pacers called time out and set up the winning basket.
Person and Miller each scored 20 points for the Pacers, who improved their record to 3-2.
After several lean years, the Pacers drafted Person, a 6-8 forward from Auburn. As a rookie last season, Person averaged 18.8 points, the Pacers improved by 15 victories and made the playoffs.
They are hoping that the sharpshooting Miller, a 6-7 forward, will enable them to improve even more this season. Indiana fans were unhappy when the Pacers failed to draft Indiana star Steve Alford and picked Miller.
"We decided that Reggie would be a better NBA player than Alford," Coach Jack Ramsay said. "There has been nothing that happened to make us change our mind." Miller, long acknowledged as an outstanding shooter, has been deadly in his brief pro career. The three-pointer gave him 9 for 12 shots in this game. In his five games coming off the bench, he is 31 for 49, better than 60%.
New York 93, Milwaukee 89--It wasn't exactly a picture basket, but the Knicks were in a position where they were willing to take anything they could get.
With 21 seconds left and the score tied, 89-89, at New York, Patrick Ewing shot a turnaround jumper. It bounced on the rim four times before dropping through to give Coach Rick Pitino his first NBA coaching victory.
"When it went in, I didn't have time for euphoria," Pitino said. "I was just too worried about the last 21 seconds to celebrate. We've lost some tough ones already."
Ewing, the key to the Knicks' offense, scored 27 points and had 9 rebounds.
Some of the Knicks' losses were tough ones. Friday night at Landover, Md., they lost to the Bullets even though the Knicks made 17 more field goals than Washington.
They also lost a one-point game to Atlanta.
Detroit 128, Cleveland 113--Isiah Thomas scored 32 points and had 9 assists at Richfield, Ohio, to lead the Pistons past the crippled Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers, trying to overcome the loss of injured stars Ron Harper and John Williams, jumped in front in the first quarter by 11 points only to have Thomas get hot and give the Pistons the lead for good before intermission.
Dallas 127, Portland 116--Mark Aguirre and Derek Harper each scored 35 points at Dallas to lead an offense that simply overpowered the Trail Blazers.
Kiki Vandeweghe scored 26 points to lead Portland, which played most of the game without Clyde Drexler. Drexler was hit with two technicals by referee Ed Rush and was out early in the second quarter.
Houston 101, Utah 93--Cedric Maxwell came off the bench to spark a sputtering offense at Houston and lead the Rockets to a hard-earned victory.
Maxwell scored seven points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets, although they shot only 33% from the field. Between them, Akeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson were only 10 for 33.
Atlanta 104, Philadelphia 83--On a night when their top shooter, Dominique Wilkins, was off the mark at Atlanta, the Hawks were fortunate.
Except for Charles Barkley, all the 76ers were having trouble finding the hoop. Barkley, who played a tough 40 minutes Friday night, tired, and the Hawks won handily.
Phoenix 124, San Antonio 113--Walter Davis scored 8 of his 35 points in a 16-5 spurt late in the first half at Phoenix that put the Suns in command. Davis also scored 17 points in the third quarter.
Denver 130, Sacramento 109--Alex English scored 34 points at Denver, and the Nuggets took advantage of the Kings' numerous turnovers to build a big lead. The Kings made 19 turnovers in the first half.