Cleveland's John Williams, who had begun to get into his best shape, suffered a foot injury in the closing seconds of the Cavaliers' 99-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night at Richfield, Ohio.
Williams, who signed a seven-year contract shortly before the season opened, collapsed while driving to the basket, twisting his left foot.
The 6-foot-11 forward was carried off on a stretcher. A preliminary examination indicated no broken bones, but he was taken to a hospital for X-rays.
Larry Nance, who replaced Williams in the starting lineup after the Cavaliers were overwhelmed in their first two games, had 25 points (11 for 14 from the field), six rebounds and four blocks to again lead the Cavaliers.
Since Coach Len Wilkens moved Nance and rookie guard Gerald Paddio into the starting lineup, the Cavaliers are 6-1.
Williams had kept getting sharper coming off the bench. In this game he and Nance keyed a 9-0 spurt that enabled the Cavaliers to build a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Williams was the only Cavalier to play every game last season. Injuries almost destroyed the team. Brad Daugherty missed 41 games and Nance 20 last season.
"Injuries have hurt us the last two seasons," playmaker Mark Price said. "I sure hope John is not hurt seriously. We are just starting to jell."
Charlotte 119, Atlanta 109--The Hornets, 6-35 on the road last season, have found a road warrior in Rex Chapman.
Chapman scored 12 points in the fourth quarter at Atlanta, including seven in a row near the finish to thwart the Hawks.
Philadelphia 115, Washington 102--Charles Barkley had 35 points and 18 rebounds at Philadelphia, but the 76ers almost lost anyway.
With only four seconds left in regulation, Ron Anderson sank a three-point shot to send the game into overtime.
The Bullets, who outplayed the 76ers most of the game, collapsed in the extra period and were outscored, 19-6.
Bernard King had 33 points for the Bullets, but all came in the first three quarters.
Although he was nine for 54 in three-pointers this season, Anderson said he called for the ball, but didn't know why. "Fortunately, it went in," he said.
Boston 114, Utah 89--No matter where they call home, the Jazz can't win in Boston.
Robert Parish and Larry Bird paced a 24-4 run in the third quarter that broke open a close game and the Celtics scored their 20th consecutive victory over the Jazz in Boston Garden.
Detroit 105, New Jersey 96--Isiah Thomas had nine points and four assists in the first quarter at East rutherford, N.J., to help the Pistons take a 35-18 lead.
They held on for their fifth victory in seven games, although Coach Chuck Daly wasn't happy that they let the Nets back into the game.
Indiana 106, Miami 80--Shortly after signing a contract extension, guard Vern Fleming was a point-a-minute player for the first 10 minutes at Indianapolis.
Fleming's flurry gave the Pacers a 23-9 lead and the Heat was never in the game.