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NBA Roundup : Bulls Rally Past Nuggets, 104-99

January 14, 1989|DAN HAFNER

Magic Johnson has so many triple-doubles, it leads some people to think it's not really a difficult achievement in the National Basketball Assn.

Many observers believe Michael Jordan is the best player in pro basketball, but triple-doubles have not been easy for him.

The Bulls needed one Friday night at Chicago, where they were down by 4 points going into the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets.

Jordan finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, leading the Bulls to a 104-99 victory.

Fifteen of Jordan's points came in the fourth quarter, when the Bulls, after trailing most of the game, rallied to hand the Nuggets their sixth consecutive defeat on the road.

Jordan, a 2-time NBA scoring champion and the most valuable player last season, had only his seventh triple-double in almost 300 games. Often, the 6-foot 6-inch guard reaches double figures in scoring and rebounding. His problem is that the only Bull shooter good enough to take advantage of brilliant passing is Jordan. In the NBA, it's against the rules to pass it to yourself.

The Nuggets led, 91-86, before Jordan started the winning rally with 2 jumpers. Then, with 72 seconds remaining in the game, he made a 3-point play to break a tie and put the Bulls in front to stay.

Milwaukee 107, Miami 101--It was only a win at Miami, but it put the Bucks in elite company.

The hot shooting of Ricky Pierce, who scored 23 points in 32 minutes off the bench, helped the Bucks improve their road record to 7-6. The Bucks join the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons as the only NBA teams with winning records away from home.

"We expected a hard game," Buck Coach Del Harris said. "They play everyone tough at home."

It was the fifth win in a row for the Bucks.

Philadelphia 114, Atlanta 101--The 76ers are on a roll. Charles Barkley had another big game at Philadelphia and got help from his teammates.

Barkley had 23 points and 19 rebounds, and Hersey Hawkins scored 21 points.

Detroit 119, Washington 103--John Salley scored 8 of the 10 points the Pistons got to open the game in this rout at Auburn Hills, Mich.

Adrian Dantley, driving to the basket throughout, made 17 of 21 free throws and scored 35 points.

Phoenix 111, Sacramento 90--Armon Gilliam set a club record when he had 13 rebounds in the first quarter at Phoenix, and the Suns went on to an easy victory.

The lead over the Kings was only 20-16 after one period, but the Suns broke it open when Eddie Johnson scored 16 of his 32 points in the third quarter. Gilliam wound up with a career-high 21 rebounds.

Rodney McCray scored 20 points for the Kings, who are 2-16 on the road.

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