Fifty-three points was Willie Burton's way of saying thanks to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers picked up Burton on Nov. 8, five days after the Miami Heat released him, and he rewarded them with a 53-point game against his old team Tuesday night at Philadelphia.
"I'm just grateful to be getting the opportunity to play," Burton said after leading his new team to a 105-90 victory. "I'm really glad I'm here. I know I'll be playing here. It's a wonderful organization with a real good coach and a good team."
Burton's total was the highest in the NBA this season. He broke the 27-year-old Spectrum record of 52 points, set by Michael Jordan on Nov. 16, 1988.
"I'm going to have a hard time sleeping tonight," Burton said. "I just want to savor this."
Burton's outburst against his former team was the best by a 76er since Wilt Chamberlain scored 53 points against the Lakers on March 19, 1967.
Miami Coach Kevin Loughery said there were no hard feelings between him and his former player.
"You've got to give Willie Burton a lot of credit," Loughery said. "I'm glad he's doing well, but I wish it wasn't against us. He was always a terrific talent, and I hope he can stay focused and maintain that intensity."
Burton made 12 of 19 shots, including five of eight three-point attempts, and a franchise-record 24 of 28 free throws.
His previous high was 28 points. He had scored 29 by halftime Tuesday.
Houston 93, Washington 85--Otis Thorpe had 27 points and 14 rebounds and the Rockets turned back a Washington rally in Houston.
The Bullets shot only 36.8%, but they made a run after falling behind by 17 points in the third quarter. They closed to within five points on Chris Webber's basket with 1:40 to play but still lost their third in a row.
Chicago 98, Detroit 78--Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc got hot in time to rescue the Bulls from a horrific third quarter in their victory over the injury-depleted Pistons at Chicago.
Pippen finished with 31 points and Kukoc a career-high 28 as the Bulls beat Detroit for the second time in three games. The Pistons, who had 13 of their 28 turnovers in the second quarter, were playing without injured Grant Hill, Lindsey Hunter and Oliver Miller.
Charlotte 107, Milwaukee 101--Alonzo Mourning scored 20 points at Charlotte to lead the Hornets over the Bucks, who have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
With the score tied at 90 with 3:03 remaining, Charlotte tightened its defense, forcing Glenn Robinson to miss two jump shots. Larry Johnson scored a key basket inside and Dell Curry made a three-point shot to give the Hornets a 97-92 lead with 1:17 to play. Charlotte then made eight consecutive free throws.
Atlanta 85, Minnesota 83--Andrew Lang's short hook shot in the lane with 1:21 to play in overtime lifted the Hawks in Atlanta and gave Coach Lenny Wilkens his 935th victory, three shy of Red Auerbach's NBA record.
It was the fifth victory in seven games for the Hawks and the third loss in a row for Minnesota, which has dropped 10 of its last 12.
Cleveland 90, Indiana 83--Mark Price passed to Greg Dreiling for a dunk and drove for a layup at the start of the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers ran off the first eight points of the period to beat the Pacers at Cleveland.
"We got mesmerized with the three-point shot," Coach Larry Brown said. "Any time you shoot only 14 free throws and are one for 14 from three-point range, that's going to do you in."
The loss stopped Indiana's five-game winning streak.
Chris Mills scored 17 points, John Williams 15 and Bobby Phills 14 for Cleveland, which won its third in a row.
Rik Smits led Indiana with 26 points, and Dale Davis scored 16.
Sacramento 112, Golden State 107--Rookie reserve Brian Grant scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter at Oakland as the Kings handed the Warriors their seventh loss in a row.
Grant's dunk with one second to play in the third quarter gave Sacramento its first lead of the game, 78-77. He then scored all six in a 6-2 run to help the Kings open a 104-94 lead with 4:10 to play.
Mitch Richmond had 29 points and Olden Polynice 20 to lead the Kings, who have won five of their last six games.
Tim Hardaway had 23 points for the Warriors.