During much of his first four seasons with Milwaukee in the National Basketball Assn., Randy Breuer was mostly a giant laughing matter.
Although he is 7 feet 3 inches tall, the former Minnesota star didn't add much to the fortunes of the Bucks. Used mainly in a backup role, he scored a few points and picked off a few rebounds. Last season, instead of improving as anticipated, he spent most of the time in Coach Don Nelson's doghouse.
Since Del Harris replaced Nelson, Breuer has become a giant problem for the opposition. He may not yet be among the elite centers, but he's getting there.
Just when the Boston Celtics thought they were going to pull out a win Saturday night at Milwaukee, Breuer came through with the big plays to lead the Bucks to a 112-97 victory.
Larry Bird, used sparingly because of tender Achilles' tendons, had led a Celtic charge that cut a 12-point deficit to 91-90 with 8:08 remaining. This is usually where the Celtics break it open.
But Breuer sank a jumper, grabbed a rebound, was fouled trying to shoot and added two free throws to make the lead, 95-90. Paul Pressey scored on a drive, Jack Sikma made two free throws and John Lucas scored on a layup. The 10 points in a row finished the Celtics.
Breuer, averaging 13 points a game or more than double his career average of 6.4, scored 8 of his 18 points in the last quarter.
Bird, who played a tough 35 minutes Friday night in his first start in two weeks, played only 26 minutes, but he contributed 28 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
"About 25 minutes is all Larry can play," Boston Coach K.C. Jones said. "He's only about 75%. Just when he gets into the flow, you have to take him out."
Pressey's play kept the Bucks ahead most of the game. He had 21 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists.
Chicago 98, Houston 86--Michael Jordan and rookie Horace Grant led a fourth-quarter rally at Houston that enabled the Bulls to wipe out a nine-point deficit and win going away.
It helped that the Rockets were just 5 for 25 in the last 12 minutes and scored only 14 points.
Jordan had 14 of his 34 points in the last quarter, and Grant had 10 of his 19 in the last quarter. Grant also had a season-high 11 rebounds.
The Rockets finished without Akeem Olajuwon, who fouled out late in the third quarter after scoring just 14 points. The Rockets have lost four of their last five games and have dropped to fourth in the Midwest Division.
Washington 124, Detroit 102--Kevin Loughery has been waiting more or less patiently for his Bullets to get to know each other. With a number of new faces, he knew it would take some time.
Apparently, the Bullets have gotten acquainted. In their most impressive performance of the season, the Bullets toyed with the well-regarded Pistons at Landover, Md.
The fourth win in 12 games was such a breeze after the first period that the two top scorers--John Williams (21) and Darrell Walker (20)--were nonstarters. No starter scored in the last quarter when the reserves put the Pistons away.
Williams and Walker came off the bench the first time to lead the rally that wiped out a 29-21 deficit. Between them, they made 15 of 18 shots.
Denver 106, Dallas 98--Alex English scored 25 points at Denver to become the Nuggets' all-time leading scorer as Denver took over first place in the Midwest Division.
English surpassed Dan Issel's total of 16,589 points late in the third period.
The Nuggets led all the way, but the Mavericks, playing without injured forward Mark Aguirre, kept battling back.
Indiana 131, Seattle 115--It's about time to begin taking the Pacers seriously. Chuck Person scored 15 of his 28 points in the first quarter at Indianapolis, and the Pacers took charge early and won their third in a row.
A three-point shot by Person late in the first quarter gave the Pacers the lead for good, 30-27, and they shot 56.7% from the field to improve their record to 8-5.
Atlanta 124, San Antonio 100--The Hawks welcomed back their star, Dominique Wilkins, but it was the sharpshooting of Randy Wittman that carried them to victory at Atlanta.
Wilkins, who suffered a knee injury at first believed to be serious, came back after missing only one game. Although he played only 28 minutes, he scored 15 points. Wittman was 9 for 11.
The lone bright spot for the faltering Spurs was backup center Petur Gudmundsson of Iceland. He scored a career-high 21 points, making 10 of 15 shots and had 11 rebounds.
New York 105, Cleveland 93--The Knicks played Coach Rick Pitino's system to the hilt at New York, forcing 30 turnovers with their aggressive defense.
Rookie guard Mark Jackson sparked the attack with 15 points, 13 assists and 8 rebounds.
Sacramento 115, Philadelphia 114--Jawann Oldham scored five points in overtime at Sacramento, including the winning basket with 25 seconds left. Charles Barkley missed a three-point shot at the final buzzer.