The Philadelphia 76ers erased a 17-point deficit without much problem. The three-point deficit provided by Steve Smith proved insurmountable.
Smith made a three-point shot and Damon Stoudamire added a scoop shot in the final 63 seconds Friday night as the Portland Trail Blazers improved on the NBA's best record with a 97-91 victory over the 76ers at Philadelphia.
The Trail Blazers, off to their best start since 1990-91 with a 9-1 record, displayed two of the most important traits of a championship contender: They built a big lead with unselfishness and surprising fluidity for a team that has been together only 10 games; and they thwarted the 76ers' comeback with playoff-like poise.
"They share the ball, they share time. They're a real team," 76er Coach Larry Brown said. "I think they've got a focus like they're going to sacrifice anything to win a championship."
Allen Iverson, who received his NBA scoring championship plaque before the game, hit a jumper that tied the score, 87-87, with 1:32 to play.
Smith, who sat out much of the fourth quarter, made an open three-point basket to make the score 90-87 with 1:03 left. Iverson airballed a driving jumper, and Stoudamire tossed in a nifty underhanded shot to lift the Trail Blazers to their fifth consecutive victory.
Sacramento 103, Dallas 94--Chris Webber scored 24 points at Dallas, including six down the stretch, as the Kings won their fifth in a row to match their best start in 47 years.
Reserves Predrag Stojakovic and Jon Barry scored 15 points each and Vlade Divac had 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the Kings (6-1) equal the start of the 1952-53 Rochester Royals.
Phoenix 96, New York 81--Jason Kidd had 16 points and 10 assists as the Suns romped at Phoenix.
Kidd also grabbed seven rebounds for the Suns, who were never threatened in the second half
Reserve Todd Day scored 20 points for the Suns, who won their second in a row.
Allen Houston had 17 points to lead the Knicks, who have dropped their last two games and six of eight.
Phoenix took charge with an 18-2 run in the second quarter. Day had 11 points, including his first two three-point baskets of the season, during the surge, which gave the Suns to a 48-32 lead.
Minnesota 89, Utah 84--Kevin Garnett scored 29 points for the Timberwolves, who never trailed at Minneapolis. Garnett scored 12 of points in the final quarter, holding off a Jazz charge that threatened to hand the Timberwolves their second consecutive collapse from an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.
Detroit 101, Cleveland 90--Grant Hill had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Jerry Stackhouse scored 26 points to lead the Pistons at Auburn Hills, Mich.
The Pistons have won two straight for the first time this season, and have won four of six since starting the season with four losses.
Christian Laettner added 15 points and nine rebounds for Detroit and Lindsey Hunter had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Rookie Andre Miller led Cleveland with a season-high 23 points.
Atlanta 105, Indiana 99--Jim Jackson scored 19 points and Dikembe Mutombo, Alan Henderson and Bimbo Coles each added 16 for the Hawks at Indianapolis.
Isaiah Rider, returning after a one-game suspension for violation of team rules, added 15 as Atlanta won on the road for the first time in six tries.
Charlotte 103, Orlando 92--Eddie Jones scored 30 points and Bobby Phills had 27 at Orlando, Fla., as the Hornets won on the road for the first time.
The Hornets, 5-0 at home, were 0-4 on the road.
Boston 109, New Jersey 96--The Celtics, off to their best start in six years, got 25 points from Antoine Walker at Boston.
The Celtics, who had losing records the last six seasons, improved to 6-3.
Around the League
The NBA is awaiting more information before taking possible action following a report that strippers from an Atlanta club offered sex to New York Knick players in Charleston, S.C., in 1997. The report Friday in the New York Daily News quotes federal sources close to an investigation that resulted in an indictment of 16 people in Atlanta. The charges include prostitution, racketeering, money-laundering, loan-sharking and credit-card fraud. "We're in touch with the appropriate authorities and monitoring the situation," NBA spokesman Seth Sylvan said. Knick Coach Jeff Van Gundy and guard Charlie Ward refused comment before Friday night's game at Phoenix. . . . The NBA and the CBA have come to terms on a one-year extension of their working agreement, said NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik.