The Los Angeles Clippers still have the worst record in the NBA, but just barely.

By beating the slumping Golden State Warriors 89-82 Thursday night, Los Angeles improved to 3-18 and moved to a half-game behind the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-17) in the unofficial battle to avoid being labeled "Worst Team in Professional Basketball."Throw out a 46-point loss to Portland, and it was actually quite a positive week for the Clippers, who won three of five games after dropping their first 16 to fall one loss short of the Miami Heat's record for the worst start to a season.

"We're sneaking up on teams right now. We have our confidence and we're ready to go. We got that first win, and now we're carrying it over," rookie Lamond Murray said.

"Last night's game (the blowout loss to Portland) was very important because the players were angry after the game and I hoped that they could use that anger tonight," Clippers coach Bill Fitch said.

Meanwhile, it's been a disastrous week for the Warriors, who lost their eighth straight one night after learning that coach Don Nelson had been hospitalized with pneumonia. His son, assistant coach Donn Nelson, filled in against the Clippers.

SuperSonics 114

Trail Blazers 103

Shawn Kemp scored 26 points and Gary Payton had 23 points and nine assists.

Payton was at his best during the third quarter. The Sonics led 68-66 with 4:01 left before he scored seven straight points on an 18-foot jumper, a layup and a 3-pointer. He then set up a basket by Vincent Askew for a 77-67 lead with 1:52 left in the third quarter. Seattle never got closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.

Cliff Robinson had 26 points and 15 rebounds and Clyde Drexler 26 points for visiting Portland.

Mavericks 122, Celtics 113

At Dallas, Jim Jackson scored 40 points and Jamal Mashburn added 27 as the Mavericks turned in one of their best all-around efforts of the season despite playing without suspended forward Roy Tarpley.

Popeye Jones had a career-high 25 points with 20 rebounds and Jason Kidd had 10 points and 10 assists.

Dominique Wilkins scored 33 points and Sherman Douglas 19 to pace Boston, which has lost seven of nine games.

Lakers 97, Rockets 94

At Houston, the Lakers won their third straight road game and their 10th in 12 games overall.

Cedric Ceballos scored a season-high 36 points and Eddie Jones added 16 points for the Lakers, who held the Rockets to 40 percent shooting.

Nuggets 101, Heat 99

Rodney Rogers hit a game-winning 8-footer with three seconds left as Denver overcame 29 turnovers and a 20-point deficit to win at Miami.

Reggie Williams, activated from the injured list before the game, led Denver with 21 points. Kevin Willis had 29 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who lost for the fifth time in six games.

Knicks 94, Kings 84

Patrick Ewing had 27 points and 18 rebounds and John Starks broke out of a slump with 19 points for New York at Sacramento.

Charles Smith added 16 points and Anthony Mason 14 for the Knicks. who played without Charles Oakley because of a dislocated toe, ending his streak of consecutive regular season and playoff games at 323.