Two heartbreaking losses in a row drove Philadelphia 76ers coach John Lucas to tears. Denver's Gene Littles finally had a reason to smile.

Lucas' struggling team had a 4-point lead on the Phoenix Suns with less than 26 seconds left Friday night, only to let it slip away. The Nuggets finally managed to hang on to one, winning for the first time since Dan Issel stepped down as coach on Jan. 15.

Nine 3-pointers and 39 points from Dana Barros weren't enough for the 76ers, who two days earlier lost a one-point decision to the Milwaukee Bucks in the final two seconds. They ended up losing to Phoenix 108-107.

``Somebody is really punishing us,'' said Lucas, whose team has lost 13 of 15. ``This is the first time since high school I've cried after a basketball game. We're just finding new ways to lose.''

In other games, it was Boston 117, Golden State 91; Portland 87, Cleveland 77; Charlotte 105, New York 90; Miami 96, Milwaukee 87; Minnesota 102, Dallas 94; and Denver 96, New Jersey 90.

Trailing by 105-101 with 25 seconds to play, the Suns called on their leader, Charles Barkley, and he didn't disappoint, banking in a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go.

A defensive lapse by the Suns allowed Scott Williams to slip in at the other end for an uncontested dunk 1.5 seconds later, but the Suns' Dan Majerle, who paced Phoenix with 25 points, hit a long 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to tie the game 107-107.

As the 76ers advanced the ball past midcourt, Willie Burton lost the ball, and it went into the hands of Danny Ainge. As Ainge headed downcourt, he was fouled by Burton with 1.7 seconds to play.

``That's as good a finish for our team as any I've seen,'' Ainge said. ``There was so much action there in the last 30 seconds, and the last quarter.''

Barkley finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds for Phoenix, which won its seventh straight, for the 12th time in 13 games and ninth consecutive on the road.

The Suns won after trailing 42-21 early in the second quarter.

Trailing 97-93 with 3:23 left in the game, the 76ers went on a 10-2 run, capped by Burton's 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, and led 103-99.

Celtics 117, Warriors 91

Rookie Greg Minor scored a season-high 31 points as Boston shuffled its lineup and snapped out of a six-game slide.

Boston coach Chris Ford stuck with only Eric Montross from the group that started the previous nine games. Leading scorer Dominique Wilkins was used as a reserve for the first time since Jan. 12, 1993.

The visiting Warriors, who lost for the ninth time in 11 games, were led by Chris Gatling with 18 points and Latrell Sprewell and Tim Hardaway with 14 each.

Trail Blazers 87, Cavaliers 77

Clyde Drexler had 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Portland overcame a sluggish start and win at Cleveland.

Portland won for the fourth time in five games while stopping Cleveland's three-game winning streak. The Cavs were without injured point guards Mark Price and Terrell Brandon, and they lost starting forward Chris Mills to a sprained left thumb in the second quarter.

John Williams led Cleveland with 14 points.

Hornets 105, Knicks 90

Larry Johnson scored a career-high 39 points and hit six 3-pointers as Charlotte ended New York's six-game winning streak.

In snapping a three-game losing skid, the Hornets won for the fifth time in six meetings against the Knicks.

The visiting Knicks, led by John Starks' 26 points, played the final period without coach Pat Riley, who was ejected late in the third quarter.

Timberwolves 102, Mavericks 94

Christian Laettner scored 21 points and Isaiah Rider 20 as Minnesota handed Dallas its sixth straight loss.

Sean Rooks had 18 points and Doug West 17 for the visiting Timberwolves, who had dropped three of their previous four games. Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak against Dallas.

Jim Jackson's 24 points paced the Mavericks, who have lost eight of nine. Jamal Mashburn had 16 for Dallas.

Heat 96, Bucks 87

Bimbo Coles scored 20 of his career-high 25 points in the second half to lead Miami over Milwaukee.

Coles had just five points with 7:47 left in the third period. Coles then scored nine points in the third period and 11 in the fourth.

Matt Geiger, averaging just over eight points, added 18 as the Heat won for just the fourth time in 21 road games.

Nuggets 96, Nets 90

Denver won for the first time since Issel's sudden resignation, beating New Jersey behind 17 points from reserve Dale Ellis.

Dikembe Mutombo had 14 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks to help the Nuggets end a five-game losing streak.

Kenny Anderson led the visiting Nets with 19 points. Chris Morris had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Derrick Coleman had 12 points and nine rebounds.