The last time Kiki Vandeweghe played a full season was at Portland in 1986-87. Ever since, back problems have threatened to end his career.
The former sharpshooter from UCLA apparently is recovered and ready to play a full season. And he gives the New York Knicks the outside shooting they need to be contenders.
The Knicks turned in one of the most impressive performances of the early season Saturday night at New York, overwhelming Philadelphia, 106-79.
Trent Tucker and Vandeweghe triggered a 30-11 second-quarter spurt that turned the game into a rout.
A poor performance by Charles Barkley complicated matters for Philadelphia. Barkley, averaging 29.6 points and 59.7% field-goal efficiency, missed 10 of 14 shots and had only 10 points.
Vandeweghe, who has played all nine games for the Knicks, is cautious, but optimistic.
"My goal is to stay healthy," he said. "If I do that, I'll make a contribution. I really think we are as good as any team."
The Knicks are 6-3. Two of their losses came at home, when they blew leads of 16 points. The other came at Portland at the end of a week-long trip.
Said 76er Coach Jim Lynam: "We were tired after the overtime battle with the Bullets, but give the Knicks credit. They were tremendous."
San Antonio 128, Phoenix 114--David Robinson had 40 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked five shots to lead the Spurs to their fourth victory without a loss at home.
The Suns appeared a bit weary after an overtime battle with the Clippers Friday night.
Milwaukee 111, New Jersey 99--Rickey Pierce scored 32 points and the Bucks handed the Nets their record-tying 32nd loss in a row on the road.
By losing Tuesday night at Seattle, the Nets can break a record set by Baltimore in 1953-54.
The Nets cut the lead to seven early in the final quarter, but Pierce scored 13 points to seal the victory.
Boston 102, Washington 90--The 48-minute NBA game apparently is too long for the Bullets. They seem better suited for the 40-minute college game.
Friday night at Philadelphia, they led by four after 40 minutes and lost in overtime.
In this game at Landover, Md., they led the Celtics, 84-79, with 8:07 to play. But Reggie Lewis scored eight consecutive points in a 13-0 run that carried the Celtics to their seventh victory in nine games.
The Bullets' Bernard King, averaging 33 points, made four of 21 shots and had only 11 points.
Detroit 91, Atlanta 83--The Pistons trailed 81-78 with less than six minutes to play before going on a 12-0 roll. Mark Aguirre scored six of the points as the Hawks lost their fourth straight.
The two-time NBA champions shot only 41.9%.
Portland 143, Denver 112--The Trail Blazers, the only unbeaten team, had no trouble extending their winning streak to eight at Denver.
Clyde Drexler had 31 points as the Trail Blazers took charge with a 41-point second quarter and handed the Nuggets their eighth loss in nine games.
Chicago 116, Seattle 95--Michael Jordan, held to 14 points Thursday night by the Warriors, had that many in the third quarter at Seattle.
Jordan, who finished with 33, sparked a 21-6 spurt early in the second half that enabled the Bulls to take an 82-59 lead and coast to their fifth victory in nine games.
Charlotte 112, Cleveland 100--The expansion teams are nearing respectability. Johnny Newman scored 24 points at Charlotte as the Hornets ended the Cavaliers' four-game winning streak and reached .500 (5-5).
The Hornets raced to a 61-38 halftime lead and the Cavaliers, playing without injured big man John Williams, could never get close.
Orlando 96, Indiana 89--The improving Magic held the Pacers without a field goal during a nine-minute stretch in the second half at Orlando to win their third in a row.
Sam Vincent had 26 points for the Magic, which lost their first six games this season.
Houston 117, Miami 100--Otis Thorpe scored nine of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter at Houston as the Rockets pulled away from the Heat. Thorpe also had 15 rebounds.
Golden State 112, Sacramento 111--Tim Hardaway scored the Warriors' last 13 points at Oakland, including two free throws with 2.4 seconds left.