Michael Jordan scored 20 of his 31 points in the pivotal third quarter Friday night, lifting the Chicago Bulls to their eighth consecutive victory, 102-96 over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Bulls, who trailed by nine points at halftime, improved their home record to 18-2 as Horace Grant added 19 points and Scottie Pippen 17. The Spurs were led by David Robinson with 20 points and Terry Cummings with 17.After Chicago outscored San Antonio 34-19 in the third quarter, Robinson hit the first basket of the fourth quarter to close the Spurs to 79-75. But that was the closest they got until Sean Elliott's jumper from the corner made it 94-90 with 2:21 left.
Two quick baskets by Pippen and Will Perdue put the Bulls safely in front with 1:23 remaining. Perdue finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulls outscored the Spurs 11-2 in the first 2:47 of the second half to tie the game 56-56, with Jordan accounting for six of those points.
San Antonio countered with a 9-2 run for a 65-58 lead, but Chicago outscored the Spurs 21-8 the rest of the quarter to take the lead for good.
With 1:56 left in the period and the Bulls leading 72-67, Pippen appeared to hook the arm of Rod Strickland, and the two players exchanged shoves before order was restored.
The Bulls led 43-41 before the Spurs went on an 11-0 run for a 52-43 lead and settled for a 54-45 halftime advantage.
The first quarter was even until the Spurs opened a 27-22 edge. With 10:50 left in the period, Jordan got an elbow in the cheek from Pippen and left the game, but he returned less than two minutes later.
Celtics 98, 76ers 95
At Boston, Kevin Gamble scored 30 points and Robert Parish returned from injury and surpassed the 20,000-point mark as the Boston Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Larry Bird and Kevin McHale still on the injured list, the Celtics celebrated the return of Parish from a two-game absence by defeating the 76ers for the fifth consecutive time at home since Dec. 22, 1989.
Parish, who was sidelined with a twisted ankle, scored 14 points, including a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining after being fouled while on the floor to grab a loose ball. He finished the game with 20,011 points.
Magic 127, Pacers 120
At Indianapolis, Scott Skiles had 41 points as Orlando overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Indiana Pacers, the Magic's third victory in 28 games.
Chuck Person led Indiana with 29 points, while Rik Smits added 23 and Reggie Miller 22.
Jerry Reynolds had 17 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for the Magic, while Nick Anderson had 18.
Suns 134, Kings 94
At Phoenix, Kevin Johnson scored 16 of his 20 points in the first quarter, leading the Phoenix Suns to their sixth consecutive victory, a rout of the Sacramento Kings.
The Suns became the 12th NBA team to win 1,000 games, reaching the mark midway through their 24th season. Phoenix won No. 900 against Sacramento on Feb. 22, 1990.
The victory also was the Suns' 14th in a row at home and 10th straight over the Kings in Phoenix.
Bucks 90 Knicks 85
At Milwaukee, Moses Malone scored 20 points and the Milwaukee Bucks held New York to 35 points in the middle two quarters, beating the Knicks and ending a four-game losing streak.
Larry Krystkowiak added 17 points for Milwaukee, while Gerald Wilkins topped the Knicks with 24 points. Patrick Ewing, his playing time limited by foul trouble, scored 16, nearly eight under his average.
The Bucks took an 11-point lead early in the third quarter but couldn't build on it.
Trail Blazers 120, Hornets 104
At Portland, Ore., Clyde Drexler had 25 points and 11 assists as the Portland Trail Blazers improved their record against the Charlotte Hornets to 10-0,
Drexler scored 14 points in the first quarter and 10 in the third period, leading seven Blazers in double figures. Cliff Robinson had 17 points and Kevin Duckworth and Terry Porter 14 each for Portland, which pulled into a virtual tie for first place with Golden State in the Pacific Division.
Kendall Gill, who kept the Hornets in the game in the first quarter with 12 points, led Charlotte with 23 while Anthony Frederick had 19.
Clippers 111, Hawks 107 OT
At Los Angeles, Ron Harper stole an inbounds pass and scored with 38 seconds remaining in overtime, and James Edwards made a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left, giving the Los Angeles Clippers a 111-107 victory over Atlanta.
The Clippers' Ken Norman snapped a 105-105 tie with a reverse layup with 41 seconds left. After Harper's basket, Blair Rasmussen's jumper pulled Atlanta to 109-107 with 23 seconds remaining.
Atlanta's Kevin Willis hit an 18-footer with 1.4 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.