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NBA Roundup : Floyd Wakes Up to Help Rockets Rout Hawks

December 23, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Eric (Sleepy) Floyd woke up and paid his first dividend to the Houston Rockets.

In his first three games after being traded to the Rockets in the Ralph Sampson deal, Floyd was neither the sharpshooter nor the playmaker they thought they were getting in the trade with the Golden State Warriors.

The swift backcourt star who played so well against the Lakers in the playoffs last spring, returned to that form Tuesday night at Houston.

Floyd, who was shooting 43% this season, made his first four shots, scored 28 points and led the Rockets to a 122-103 rout of the Atlanta Hawks. In ending their four-game losing streak, the Rockets stopped Atlanta's five-game winning streak.

Allen Leavell, Houston's other starting guard, was hot, too, sinking 11 of his 14 shots. Floyd was 9 of 16. They helped build a 62-48 halftime lead. The Hawks, with Dominique Wilkins scoring only 20 points, never got back into the game.

"I'm learning to work with Allen," Floyd said. "When we're in there together, there's plenty of speed on the court."

The other player the Rockets obtained for Sampson, center Joe Barry Carroll, is still having trouble adjusting to being a backup center. He came off the bench to play 26 minutes. He was 4 for 11, had 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Boston 118, Philadelphia 115--The 76ers improved 34 points on their home court, but it still wasn't good enough to beat Larry Bird and the Celtics.

Bird scored 9 of his 31 points in the last five minutes, including a three-point basket that gave Boston the lead for good, 112-110, with 1:33 remaining. It was the first Boston victory in Philadelphia in two years.

On Sunday at Boston, the Celtics built a 49-point lead and breezed to a 124-87 victory over the 76ers.

The Celtics, who trailed by eight points in the third quarter, had to overcome a strong performance by Charles Barkley. Before fouling out in the closing seconds, Barkley scored 40 points and had 11 rebounds. After Bird's three-pointer, Barkley had a chance to tie it, but made only one of two free throws.

It was a disappointing loss for the 76ers, who were never in the game Sunday night, but led this one almost all the way. The 76ers trail the Celtics in the Atlantic Division by three games.

There was one bright spot for the 76ers. Andrew Toney, out since Dec. 9 with more foot problems, played 10 minutes, made all three shots he took and said he was without pain.

Cleveland 106, Washington 102--Mark Price threw in a running one-hander to break a 102-102 tie with two seconds left at Landover, Md., and Dell Curry added a pair of free throws to nail down the victory a second later.

The Cavaliers have won three in a row and four of their last five to give them an 8-4 record in December. In the first month of the season, riddled by injury, they were 3-7. They hope their top player, Ron Harper, who was injured in the second game of the season, will return Saturday night.

Dallas 111, Chicago 100--Mark Aguirre scored 32 points in the first three quarters at Chicago, but the sharpshooting forward was resting when the Mavericks broke the game open in the fourth quarter.

The Mavericks had a shaky 85-79 lead but went on a 16-4 spurt, and Aguirre didn't return because he wasn't needed.

Michael Jordan scored 28 for the Bulls, who have lost three of their last four and trail Detroit by two games in the Central Division.

Milwaukee 122, New York 105--John Lucas scored a season-high 25 points at Milwaukee, but it was Randy Breuer, who broke open a close game in the third quarter.

Breuer scored 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter as the Bucks increased a 56-55 lead to 94-75. Breuer also had 10 rebounds in another sparkling performance.

Portland 136, Golden State 91--The Warriors still don't have a victory since the trade was finalized, and this one at Portland, Ore., wasn't even a contest.

The sizzling Trail Blazers shot 61% in the first half and led, 75-45, at halftime. In the third quarter, they built a 50-point lead, 113-63, on the way to their fifth victory in a row. Ralph Sampson, 0-3 as a Warrior, was only 5 for 19.

Denver 119, Phoenix 104--Alex English scored 16 points in the first quarter at Denver and 26 before he sat down after three quarters with the Nuggets holding a comfortable lead.

The Nuggets, clinging to first place in the Midwest Division, increased the lead to 22 points in the third quarter, and the Suns never threatened.

Sacramento 120, San Antonio 96--Former Laker Mike McGee scored a season-high 30 points, including a club-record five three-point baskets at Sacramento as the Kings won for the second time in the last 12 games.

In his third game since the Kings obtained him from the Atlanta Hawks, McGee was 5 for 8 from three-point range.

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