Alexander Volkov, virtually a man without a country since the breakup of the Soviet Union, was a man without a role on the Atlanta Hawks until an injury to Dominique Wilkins gave him a chance to play.
The Hawks have fallen in the standings since the loss of their All-Star forward on Jan. 28, but Volkov has helped keep them in the Eastern Conference playoff race, averaging 11.9 points since the injury and 5.9 before it.On Monday night, Volkov scored 16 points, including the game-winning layup at the buzzer, as Atlanta defeated the Golden State Warriors 126-125, snapping the Hawks' five-game losing streak in overtime games this season.
Tim Hardaway, who joined with Chris Mullin to score 25 points apiece for the Warriors, gave Golden State a 125-124 lead on a 10-foot bank shot with six seconds left.
With two seconds to go, Rumeal Robinson's 22-foot shot missed everything, but Duane Ferrell tipped the ball to Volkov, who got off the game-winner in time.
"I felt like I was all alone in the gym and I put it in," Volkov said. "It's just a good feeling. I used to score a lot of winning baskets in the Soviet Union."
"We defended it so well that the guy shot an air ball," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "It just fell right to Volkov. Those things just happen."
"It feels worse because we lost at the end," Hardaway said. "We played well, but we have to play a little better."
Stacey Augmon scored a career-high 32 points for Atlanta, including the NBA's 6 millionth point on a layup in the second quarter. Augmon scored 12 points in the fourth period, five during a 12-0 run that tied the game 111-111. It was 114-114 at the end of regulation.
In overtime, a three-point play by Atlanta's Paul Graham tied it 121-121 before Robinson hit a layup with 27 seconds to go and Ferrell hit one of two free throws with 21 seconds left for a 124-121 lead.
Billy Owens' baseline drive closed the Warriors to 124-123 with 16 seconds remaining. After Augmon missed two free throws with 14 seconds to play, Hardaway gave Golden State its one-point lead.
Robinson and Ferrell scored 22 points each for the Hawks and Sarunas Marciulionis had 22 for the Warriors.
Nets 123, Hornets 120
New Jersey won for the 14th time in 16 home games and took over the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference behind Derrick Coleman's 37 points and 12 rebounds against Charlotte.
Trailing 103-93 early in the fourth period, the Nets got close with a 10-3 burst that included five points by Drazen Petrovic, who finished with 22.
A jumper by Dell Curry put the Hornets ahead 110-105 with 5:57 to play before New Jersey took the lead for good with a 10-0 run that included Tate George's six free throws. The 6-foot-5 George posted up 5-3 Tyrone Bogues on three consecutive possessions, drawing fouls each time.
Larry Johnson and Kendall Gill scored 24 points apiece and Curry had 22 for the Hornets, who won 10 of their previous 13 games.
76ers 105, Spurs 92
At Philadelphia, the 76ers snapped a five-game losing streak, defeating San Antonio as Johnny Dawkins scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs, who won six of their seven previous games, fell three games behind first-place Utah in the Midwest Division despite 30 points and 15 rebounds by David Robinson.
Hersey Hawkins led Philadelphia with 23 points, Armon Gilliam had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Charles Barkley 18 points and five steals. Terry Cummings scored 19 points for San Antonio, which managed just one field goal and eight points in the final 8:28.
The 76ers, who fell into 11th place in the Eastern Conference with the losing streak, pulled into a ninth-place tie with Miami. The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs.
Nuggets 100, Timberwolves 95
Denver won for the sixth time in 34 road games this season, rallying from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win at Minnesota.
The Nuggets made 17 of their last 18 free throws in the final quarter, including six straight by Reggie Williams, who scored 19 points.
The Timberwolves led 85-72 with 8:05 remaining after a 16-3 spurt that included eight points by Tony Campbell and two baskets by Mark Randall.
Denver, held to one field goal in the first 5:13 of the period, fought back with a 25-8 spurt for a 97-93 advantage with 30 seconds left. Williams scored the last six points of the burst on two free throws with 2:01, 1:02 and 30 seconds left.
Doug West led Minnesota with 20 points.