Heat storms past Bullets, 119-95 Ellison misses opener with sprained ankle

November 03, 1990|By Ken Rodriguez | Ken Rodriguez,Special to The Sun

MIAMI -- The Washington Bullets opened the 1990-91 regular season precisely the way they opened and closed the preseason.

With a loss.

If you're counting, the losing streak has reached 11. That includes seven preseason losses and three at the end of last season.

No. 11 was thorough and complete, a 119-95 drubbing by the Miami Heat before a crowd of 15,008 at Miami Arena.

There were ample reasons for this latest collapse -- inexperience, two injured starters and one overweight star who did not make the trip -- but coach Wes Unseld didn't whine.

"I'm not about to make any excuses," he said. "We just made some bad mistakes. We had people take shots that didn't fall, shots that shouldn't have been taken. We just had a lot of immature people out there."

Forward Bernard King led the Bullets with 18 points, and forward/center Harvey Grant added 14.

The Heat was led by rookie guard Willie Burton, who had 25. Miami's Syracuse connection -- third-year center Rony Seikaly and point guard Sherman Douglas -- added 22 and 21, respectively.

Bullets center Pervis Ellison missed the game with a sprained right ankle. Forward John Williams, who ended his holdout on Thursday, also did not play. And guard Darrell Walker, slowed by an ankle injury, came off the bench.

"I'd like to think if we'd been a little healthier, things would have been a little different, not necessarily the outcome though," Unseld said. "I don't know what I can do to prevent a long season. We have a very immature team. I have seven guys with two years' experience or less."

That inexperience showed late in the third period.

The Bullets, after trailing by 12 at one point, cut the Heat lead to 75-71 when Mark Alarie tipped in a missed Greg Foster free throw with less than two minutes to play.

With that, the Heat launched a 10-1 run, ending the third with an 85-72 lead.

An 18-10 run did it in the fourth period. In that run, Seikaly scored on an off-balance fade-away, a pair of free throws and two jams. Douglas closed the run with a pair of free throws, giving Miami a 103-82 lead with less than four minutes to play.

With 3 minutes, 27 seconds to play, Heat coach Ron Rothstein yanked most of his starters off the floor.

"They are short-handed, no question about it," Rothstein said. "But this is the NBA. You show up and play. We're not going to give it back."

Both teams began with a stumbling start, fouling here, traveling there, missing shots everywhere.

It was so bad that before a single point was scored, Grant had two personal fouls.

The Bullets scored first, on a pair of free throws by Bernard King, then extended their lead to 8-3 on a six-foot jumper by Haywoode Workman, followed by Grant's 15-footer from the left corner and a layup off a feed from King.

The Heat did not score until Billy Thompson dropped in a layup at 9:45.

The Heat stayed close early, thanks to superb free-throw shooting, as it connected on 10 of 12 in the first period.

King's shooting -- two long-range jumpers and a tip-in -- kept the Bullets ahead, 14-10, with 5:55 to play in the first, but then Miami began turning up the heat.

Glen Rice made a three-pointer at 5:39 to pull the Heat to within one, 14-13. A 13-foot jumper by guard Kevin Edwards, a pair of free throws from point guard Douglas, then two more from Seikaly, pushed Miami ahead, 19-18, with 2:33 to go in the first.

They never trailed the rest of the half. Blame it on poor shooting. The Bullets hit only 38.5 percent of their shots in the first period.

Miami only shot 45.5 percent, but slowly began finding its range.

Seikaly scored on a dunk from Bimbo Coles, then made a free throw to extend the Heat's lead to 22-18.

Larry Robinson answered with a 10-foot jumper, and Burton countered with a pair of free throws. Heat, 24-20, with 1:15 left.

The Heat followed with a 5-0 run, punctuated by a Burton layup at the buzzer, giving Miami a 29-24 lead.

Though they improved their shooting, the Bullets continued to struggle in the second period.

Burton took a pass from Coles and made a 14-foot jumper, then followed with a driving layup to ignite a 12-6 run.

In that run, Kevin Edwards, Seikaly, Thompson and Douglas all scored on layups.

Rice's tip-in of a missed jumper by Douglas with just over four minutes remaining, gave the Heat its biggest lead of the half, 43-32.

The Bullets came back with a pair of free throws by Grant, an 18-foot jumper by King, two free throws from King and a layup by King. That gave Miami a 46-40 lead.

From there, Burton and forward Grant Long took over. Burton scored on a spinning move to the basket and added a free throw after he was fouled. Long made three free throws.

Douglas closed the scoring with an 18-foot jumper with 28 seconds left.

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