Few NBA players can turn a game around almost singlehandedly. One who can is Clyde Drexler.
Drexler led the Portland Trail Blazers with 23 points in a 109-97 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Sunday night. Statistics, however, don't tell the story of how he turned the game around late in the second quarter.The Blazers, winners of 18 of 19 home games, outscored Seattle 19-7 in the final 4:12 of the first half for a 58-52 advantage. During the run, which gave Portland the lead for good, Drexler had two 3-pointers, a steal, a rebound basket, two assists and two passes to teammates who were fouled under the basket.
"He was involved in every play," Blazers coach Rick Adelman said. "That's really why he's so important because he can have that three- or four-minute stretch that just turns a game your way."
During the rally, Drexler also was playing with three fouls, a first-half number that usually causes most coaches to put a player on the bench until halftime.
"Great coaching move," Drexler joked. "I think Rick made a great decision when he left me in. I'm just glad I didn't let him down."
"You've got to let him go sometimes," Adelman said. "He's pretty good about not picking up that foul. I'd say the times I've done that with him he probably doesn't get one nine out of 10 times."
Portland's victory, coupled with Golden State's loss to the Clippers, pushed the Trail Blazers' Pacific Division lead over the Warriors to 11/2 games.
Cliff Robinson came off the bench to score 21 points for Portland, including 13 of 16 free throws. Ricky Pierce scored 26 points for the SuperSonics, but only two in the final quarter.
Clippers 97, Warriors 96
Los Angeles became the fourth team this season to hold Golden State under 100 points when Danny Young made a pair of free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining.
Ron Harper led the Clippers' fourth-quarter rally from a 10-point deficit with eight of his 21 points, while Danny Manning scored 20. The victory brought the Clippers within a half-game of the Lakers for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Tim Hardaway scored 34 points for the Warriors, which saw its three-game winning streak end.
The Clippers' 22-10 record at home is one short of the record for homecourt victories since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1984.
Rockets 109, Kings 108
Hakeem Olajuwon dunked a halfcourt inbounds pass from Otis Thorpe with 3.3 seconds left, giving Houston at victory at Sacramento.
Mitch Richmond, who scored 30 points, gave the Kings a 108-107 lead with a 16-foot jumper with 3.7 seconds left.
After a timeout, Thorpe passed the ball to a leaping Olajuwon, who scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half. Olajuwon, scoreless in the first quarter, also had 14 rebounds.
Thorpe had 21 points and 17 rebounds and Vernon Maxwell added 19 points, including five 3-pointers, for Houston. Lionel Simmons scored 25 points and Spud Webb 20 for Sacramento, which lost its fourth straight game.
Celtics 111, Magic 93
Boston snapped a five-game road losing streak, holding Orlando to four points in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter to complete a 5-0 sweep of the season series against the Magic.
Kevin Gamble scored 18 points for the Celtics, who won their fourth consecutive game since Larry Bird returned from the injured list on March 1.
Bird had 15 points and nine rebounds in 32 minutes. He didn't play at all in the fourth quarter when the Celtics outscored the Magic 16-4 to built a 100-75 lead with 4:20 to go.
Rookie Brian Williams led Orlando with a career-high 24 points.
Spurs 93, Mavericks 81
David Robinson had 18 points and 13 rebounds as San Antonio won at Dallas.
Rookie Donald Hodge scored 19 points to lead the Mavericks, who lost their fifth consecutive game.
The Spurs led 75-72 midway through the fourth quarter before outscoring Dallas 18-9 down the stretch. Robinson scored six points and Trent Tucker five in that span, including a 3-pointer by Tucker.
San Antonio took the lead for good in the third period, taking a 65-63 edge on consecutive baskets by Terry Cummings.
Bulls 103, 76ers 99
Chicago used a 16-1 spurt to overcome a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter and improved its NBA-best road record to 24-8.
Michael Jordan scored eight of his 11 fourth-quarter points during the decisive burst that turned Philadelphia's 92-80 lead into a 96-83 Chicago lead with 2:15 left. Jordan finished with 34 points.
The 76ers closed within one on three occasions before Scott Williams' layup put Chicago ahead 102-99 with 24 seconds left.
Charles Barkley, who had 29 points and 14 rebounds, then missed a 3-point shot. Jordan grabbed the rebound and hit one of two free throws with 19 seconds left.
Heat 112, Bullets 98
Glen Rice had 30 points and 11 rebounds as Miami snapped its season-high five-game losing streak and Washington's three-game winning streak.
The Heat, who lost their previous five games by an average of 23.2 points, improved their record at home to 22-9.
Pervis Ellison led the Bullets with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Grant Long scored 21 points and Rony Seikaly had 14 rebounds for the Heat, who led by 19 points in the second quarter.
Washington pulled within four before Rice, Long and Brian Shaw each scored four points during a 15-4 run that gave Miami a 75-60 lead with 2:39 left in the third period.