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NBA Roundup : Rebounding From Laker Loss, Celtics Win Their Sixth in Row

December 28, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Obviously, the electrifying last-second basket by Magic Johnson that beat the Boston Celtics a couple of weeks ago did wonders for the Lakers. On the other hand, it wasn't a shattering blow to the Celtics.

In fact, the tough defeat apparently straightened them out.

With Larry Bird scoring 35 points at Sacramento, the Celtics beat the Kings, 114-102, Sunday night to win their sixth in a row since the Dec. 11 loss.

The Celtics' battle with former star Bill Russell's team was close until the fourth quarter, when Kevin McHale scored 16 of his 25 points to break the game open.

The Celtics built an 11-point lead early in the second period, but the Kings, led by Otis Thorpe and Reggie Theus, rallied to take a 53-51 halftime lead.

It was the fifth consecutive road victory for the Celtics, who were 3-5 in their first eight games away from home. Four of them, including back-to-back wins over the Clippers and Kings, have been during the winning streak.

"I wasn't really sure how we would react to the loss to the Lakers," Bird said. "But I am really impressed with the way we have come back to play some of our best basketball of the season."

Of course, Bird has played more than a small part in the surge. He has averaged just under 30 points in the 6 games. In this one, he was 15 for 24 from the field and had 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

The win increased the Celtics' lead in the Atlantic Division to four games.

New Jersey 101, Cleveland 83--Dwayne (Pearl) Washington is starting to live up to his press clippings.

For the second time in the last four games, Washington sparked the Nets to victory at East Rutherford, N.J.

Washington scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half as the Nets built a 50-39 lead, their largest at halftime this season.

In the last four games, Washington has averaged 23 points.

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