A month ago, many people were singing the praises of the Chicago Bulls. They were 8-2, and it appeared they had managed to build a team around Michael Jordan.
When they won eight of their first nine road games, they were being touted as a team good enough to challenge for the National Basketball Assn. championship.
All of a sudden, the Bulls are just another team. The fire is out.
They lost their fifth consecutive road game Wednesday night at New York when the Knicks stopped Jordan and Patrick Ewing made the big plays in a 90-89 victory.
Ewing drove the baseline for a basket with 15 seconds left to give the Knicks the lead, then blocked a shot by Jordan, forcing a jump ball with 6 seconds left.
Jordan, leading the NBA with a 33.9 average, was only 5 for 15 from the field and had only 16 points, matching his season low on Dec. 1 against Golden State.
"We have lost our drive to win," Bull Coach Doug Collins said. "It's time for self-analysis to figure out what we're doing wrong.
"Sometimes you can get put to sleep after early success in a season. We've lost some of our desire to do the necessary dirty work it takes to win. We're not a very good team right now. We're lucky to be 15-10."
Ewing led the Knicks with 22 points, but it was the playmaking of rookie Mark Jackson that sparked the Knicks. Jackson had 17 assists and 10 points.
Of the final defensive play, Ewing said: "I knew I had all ball on the jump ball call with Jordan, but I was afraid they would call a foul."
Dallas 110, Indiana 109--Rolando Blackman sank two free throws with seven seconds left at Indianapolis to put the Mavericks in front, but it took a block by Roy Tarpley to save the victory.
Wayman Tisdale took an inbounds pass with four seconds left and put up a jumper in the lane, but the 6-foot 11-inch Tarpley leaped high to knock it away.
The game featured a duel between Chuck Person of the Pacers and Maverick star Mark Aguirre. Person had 31 points and 17 rebounds, Aguirre had 36 points and 7 rebounds.
Utah 91, Cleveland 83--The road-weary Jazz, in a desperate attempt to end a six-game losing streak away from home, brought seldom-used Kelly Tripucka off the bench in the closing minutes at Richfield, Ohio.
Tripucka scored 13 points in the last 5 1/2 minutes to wipe out a five-point deficit and put the Jazz ahead. Karl Malone, making 13 of 16 shots from the field and grabbing 15 rebounds, was also prominent in the Jazz rally.
Tripucka played only 168 minutes in the previous 24 games. In this one, he had 15 points in 15 minutes.
"I knew I could still play," he said. "Maybe, tonight convinced some others I can play."
Philadelphia 110, New Jersey 106--Cliff Robinson and Charles Barkley give the 76ers two powerful forwards. And they were at their best in this game at East Rutherford, N.J.
Robinson had 32 points and Barkley 31, and they had 11 of the 76ers last 15 points in a rally that wiped out an eight-point New Jersey lead in the fourth quarter.
Barkley, pushed and shoved all night by the Nets, sank a 10-footer in the lane to put the 76ers ahead and followed with a rebound basket with 1:42 left to make it 101-96.
Seattle 103, Phoenix 102--Tom Chambers, a disappointment most of this season, scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter at Phoenix to bring the SuperSonics from behind.
The Sonics led, 75-63, midway through the third quarter, but James Edwards led a Suns rally that put them ahead, 96-95.
But Chambers made a turnaround jumper with 3:13 to play and followed with two free throws to give Seattle the lead for good.
The Suns pulled to within one, but Alton Lister blocked Edwards' hook shot with two seconds left to save the game.
Golden State 129, Denver 117--In their fourth game with Ralph Sampson at center, the Warriors finally won at Oakland. Sampson had 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Warriors knocked the Nuggets out of first place in the Midwest Division. It was the Warriors' fourth win in 22 games.