Chicago For one night at least, the Chicago Bulls soothed the frustrations of coach Tim Floyd, giving him his most lopsided win since taking the job four seasons ago.
"Winning is the cure-all," guard Greg Anthony said after the Bulls routed Houston, 103-75, Tuesday night, sending the tired and depleted Rockets to their seventh straight loss.
"It makes a team closer. You are always going to have adversity in this business and you have to separate that once you take the basketball court," Anthony added. "It is a little more difficult because of the frustrations and the turmoil this team has gone through the past four years."
Floyd wouldn't comment before Tuesday's game on reports that he told his players at a Monday meeting that he was going to ask general manager Jerry Krause to relieve him of his duties. At the team's morning shootaround, he said he had no intention of quitting although he did not deny the reports in two Chicago papers.
After the game when asked if the circumstances of the previous two days sparked his team to victory, Floyd replied sarcastically: "It was a big trick."
Ron Mercer led the Bulls (3-13) with 22 points, Marcus Fizer added 17 points and rookie Trenton Hassell had 15 as Chicago shot 54 percent. The Bulls' previous biggest win under Floyd was by 18 points.
Houston, playing its fourth game in five nights without injured leading scorer Steve Francis, was led by 12 points from Moochie Norris.
"We should be embarrassed," Houston's Glen Rice said. "We are a better team than we showed. We never should have looked at Chicago and seen them as an easy win."
The Bulls hit 13 of their 21 first-quarter shots and Hassell finished the first half by going 5-for-5. When Hassell banked in a three-pointer to cap a 17-5 second-quarter run, the Bulls had a 21-point lead, 55-34, and were shooting 56 percent.
Spurs 103, Wizards 88
San Antonio With Michael Jordan watching from the sidelines, Antonio Daniels scored 15 points and Tim Duncan and David Robinson added 13 each as San Antonio routed Washington. Six Spurs finished in double figures, while Richard Hamilton paced the Wizards with 24 points and Courtney Alexander had 16. Alexander, who did not play by coach's decision in the three previous games, started in place of Jordan, who sat out due to a hyperextended right knee. It was the first time since March 5, 1993, that Jordan missed a game due to injury.
Jazz 104, Hornets 100
Salt Lake City Karl Malone scored 22 points and John Crotty hit a crucial three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining to lead Utah over Charlotte. With Utah clinging to a 101-100 lead, Crotty, who rarely plays the final minutes, beat the 24-second clock with a 24-footer from the right side to clinch the hard-fought victory. John Stockton had 19 points and Andrei Kirilenko had a season-high 19 points.
Pacers 104, Nuggets 96
Indianapolis Jalen Rose had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal added 23 points and 11 rebounds as Indiana beat Denver. Al Harrington scored 18 for the Pacers, who were playing their first game at home following a five-game road trip that ended with a 31-point loss to the Clippers.
Cavaliers 100, Pistons 88
Cleveland Zydrunas Ilgauskas, playing for the first time in nearly a year, scored 11 points and Andre Miller had a career-high 34, leading Cleveland over Detroit. The 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas, limited to just 29 games the past three years because of foot injuries, hadn't played for the Cavs since last Dec. 22 when he hurt his left foot and underwent his fifth surgery.
Knicks 85, Bucks 71
Milwaukee Latrell Sprewell scored 28 points and New York took advantage of a rare shooting slump by Ray Allen to defeat Milwaukee. The Bucks (9-6), coming off an 0-4 Western road trip, have dropped five in a row for the first time since Feb. 17-25, 2000. This was their lowest scoring output since an 85-70 loss at Atlanta on April 25, 1999.
Timberwolves 108, SuperSonics 83
Minneapolis Kevin Garnett had 21 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists to help Minnesota beat Seattle to end a three-game losing streak. Wally Szczerbiak scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half for the Timberwolves, who improved to 7-1 at home and are still off to the best start in franchise history at 11-5.
Kings 94, 76ers 84
Sacramento, Calif. Peja Stojakovic had 20 points and 12 rebounds, leading five Kings in double figures as Sacramento emerged from a shooting slump to beat Philadelphia. The King won for the eighth time in nine home games.
l Box scores on page 9C