It was a meeting between the worst teams in the National Basketball Assn. Wednesday night at East Rutherford, N.J., and somebody had to win.
The Golden State Warriors, winless in 17 previous road games this season, rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the New Jersey Nets, 103-101.
The Warriors (7-27) won at the buzzer on a disputed shot by Steve Harris. With three seconds left in a tie game, Orlando Woolridge of the Nets blocked a Harris jumper. The ball came right back to Harris, and this time his shot went into the basket. The Nets (8-28) argued that the buzzer sounded before the ball left Harris' hands. But referee Jess Thompson ruled it was good.
The Nets, 0-14 on the road, are now the only NBA team winless away from home. With 15:29 remaining, it appeared that the Warriors would lose No. 18. At that time, the Nets led, 80-63.
But Harris and rookie Tony White led a surge by the Warriors that culminated in victory. Harris had 8 points and White 10 in the 40-21 spurt. White, in 27 minutes off the bench, had 24 points, hitting 12 of his 17 shots.
The Warriors made their rally without help from their big man, 7-foot 4-inch Ralph Sampson, who was hampered by fluid on his right knee. Sampson scored 11 points in the first quarter but wound up with only 13.
Buck Williams, who led the Nets with 21 points and 16 rebounds, sank two free throws with 1:20 left to give New Jersey a 101-99 lead. White's jumper quickly tied it again. After a miss by John Bagley, the Warriors turned the ball over with 24 seconds left. Pearl Washington missed a jumper, and the Warriors got the rebound. Then Harris won it.
Boston 131, Phoenix 115--It's bombs away in Boston these days. With Danny Ainge leading the way, the Celtics are beating the opposition with three-point field goaLs.
Ainge made 4 of 6 from long range to extend his record streak to 21 consecutive games in which he has made a three-pointer. Larry Bird, not too bad with the bomb himself, was 3 for 3, and Dirk Minniefield, replacing injured Dennis Johnson at guard, was 1 for 2.
Ainge has converted 72 of 160 attempts from behind the 23-foot line.
Curiously, it was the Celtics' general manager and former coach, Red Auerbach, who led the fight against bringing the three-point basket to the NBA. Now, his team does it better than any other.
In winning their sixth in a row and their fourth straight at home by at least 16 points, the Celtics took the lead for good on Bird's three-point shot, which broke a 16-16 tie.
Seattle 108, New York 96--Xavier McDaniel scored a career-high 41 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in leading Seattle to its 16th straight home victory.
Dale Ellis added 20 points for Seattle, which won its fifth straight game and tied its single-season franchise mark for home-court victories. The SuperSonics lead the NBA with a 17-1 home record.
Johnny Newman topped the Knicks with a career-high 26 points.
Washington 110, Philadelphia 98--Moses Malone spoiled Mike Gminski's debut with the 76ers in Philadelphia, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Gminski, obtained last weekend in a trade with New Jersey, made only 3 of 12 shots and had 10 points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Two minutes into the game, the 76ers lost Cliff Robinson with a back injury.
Detroit 120, Utah 117--Adrian Dantley and Isiah Thomas each scored 12 of their 28 points in the fourth quarter at Salt Lake City as the Pistons wiped out a seven-point deficit.
Karl Malone scored 39 points for the Jazz.