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NBA Roundup : Pistons Slow Up Drexler and Stop the Trail Blazers

December 09, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Clyde Drexler finally cooled off, or maybe he just wore down, and the Portland Trail Blazers' winning streak came to an end Tuesday night at Pontiac, Mich.

In the past three weeks, the 6-foot 7-inch swingman, playing as well as any player in the National Basketball Assn., led the Trail Blazers to nine consecutive victories.

For more than a half Tuesday night, the Trail Blazers did all right, but in the second half Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn drove the Detroit Pistons to a 127-117 victory.

Laimbeer scored 30 points and had 14 rebounds to lead the Pistons, who scored 70 points in the second half.

In the past week, Drexler had shot better than 50% from the field, averaged 31 points and was often in double figures in rebounds and assists as the Trail Blazers soared to the top of the Pacific Division.

But the Trail Blazers showed the effects of back-to-back games after a cross-country flight and tired in the second half. In his poorest shooting performance since before the winning streak, Drexler was only 7 for 22 from the field and had only 19 points.

Portland led, 74-66, with 8:30 left in the third quarter. But Isiah Thomas scored seven points and Mahorn six in a 24-13 burst that gave the Pistons the lead for good.

Adrian Dantley scored 17 points for the Pistons and became the 13th NBA player to score 20,000 points.

Mahorn, calling it probably his best game, had 20 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.

Philadelphia 109, Chicago 96--Gerald Henderson scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter at Chicago to enable the 76ers to withstand another late spurt by Michael Jordan.

Jordan, the NBA scoring leader, had 14 of his 33 points in the last quarter, but Henderson had more help.

Charles Barkley scored 32 points, half of them in the second quarter.

Jordan also had 10 assists but couldn't prevent the Bulls from losing their third in a row.

Indiana 103, Milwaukee 101--The Pacers may not be ready to challenge the best in the East, but they are proving to be a tough team to beat.

With Steve Stipanovich scoring 24 points, including two free throws with 12 seconds remaining at Indianapolis, the Pacers improved to 10-7.

The free throws were needed, because Jack Sikma, who led Milwaukee (10-6), sank a three-point basket with eight seconds left.

New York 116, Washington 92--The continued improvement of Patrick Ewing may yet make a winner out of the Knicks.

The big center scored 16 of his 29 points in the third quarter at New York. He scored six of them in a 10-0 spurt at the start of the second half that built the Knicks' lead to 65-54.

Houston 106, Sacramento 97--After spending most of his nine years with Golden State playing the small forward position, Purvis Short was asked to become a shooting guard for the Rockets.

It took Short, 30, a number of games to adjust.

After making 13 of 15 shots Saturday in a Houston victory, Short made 11 of 19 shots for 25 points Tuesday night at Houston to pace another win.

The Kings led, 85-78, going into the fourth quarter, but Reggie Theus, who already had 25 points, didn't score in the final period and the Kings couldn't handle Short.

San Antonio 105, Utah 100--Former Laker Frank Brickowski scored a career-high 27 points at San Antonio and the Spurs clinched the victory when Leon Wood sank a three-point shot with just three seconds left.

"The Spurs played very well tonight and I give a lot of credit to Frank Brickowski," Coach Frank Layden of the Jazz said. "He's a hard worker and a plugger. I like players like that."

Seattle 107, Cleveland 96--Xavier McDaniel and Dale Ellis each scored 25 points at Seattle to lead the SuperSonics.

The Cavaliers, after falling 17 points behind in the second quarter, rallied to come within a point twice in the last quarter. They cut the lead to 87-86 with 5:45 left. Ellis then scored 12 of the Seattle's next 14 points to put the SuperSonics back in charge.

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