PHILADELPHIA -- Before last night's game at The Spectrum, Philadelphia 76ers reserve forward Ron Anderson appeared on television to discuss rumors that he was to be included in a multiplayer trade with the Charlotte Hornets.
"It's out of my hands," said Anderson. "If it happens, it happens, but that is management's decision, not mine."
Hold the phone. Anderson's worth to the 76ers grew immeasurably last night. He made a three-point shot in the final four seconds of regulation to tie the Washington Bullets at 96, then added seven points in the overtime, as the 76ers triumphed, 115-102, in a National Basketball Association game.
The Bullets (2-5) had built a 95-85 lead with five minutes left on the strength of Bernard King's 33 points, but King, the league scoring leader, would not score again. Washington went the next 9 minutes, 30 seconds, including the overtime, before making another field goal.
The Bullets' only point in that stretch came on Pervis Ellison's free throw with nine seconds left. He missed his second attempt, and the 76ers (5-3) called timeout to set up a three-point play.
Bullets coach Wes Unseld countered by calling his "blitz defense." Said Unseld: "I told our guys to get up real close on their man and foul them if possible. But [Mark] Alarie didn't get close enough to Anderson to do it. Maybe Anderson was too far out on the floor."
Not quite, said Anderson.
"I wasn't the first option on the play. It was Hersey Hawkins," he said. "When I caught the ball, I gave Alarie a little shoulder fake to the left, and then I used a crossover dribble to break loose. I just lost him. He didn't have a chance to foul me."
When the shot split the net, the air went out of the Bullets.
Charles Barkley (35 points, 18 rebounds), the 76ers' All-NBA forward, fouled out with 3:52 left in overtime, but it was little help to Washington. By the time Darrell Walker ended the Bullets' field-goal famine with 57 seconds left, Philadelphia had taken a 108-98 lead.
King, who has 30 or more points in five straight games, called the loss "a game we should have won."
He put on an amazing exhibition in the third quarter, accounting for 18 straight Bullets points. But he was on the bench for the first seven minutes of the final quarter, as Alarie sparked Washington to a 10-point lead.
"No one expected us to win in Philadelphia, but we outplayed them for more than 47 minutes," King said. "People talk about us being a young team that will get better as the season progresses, but you can't let games like this get away."
King said the 76ers tightened their defense on him in crunch time.
"They started denying me the ball," King said. "It forced me to catch the ball further out on the floor. When I caught the ball, the 76ers would double-team me. As a result, I wasn't able to get the shots I wanted."
Unseld said: "We got some shots down the stretch, but when they stopped Bernard, and Harvey Grant [15 points] fouled out in the fourth quarter, we just didn't have a lot of scorers out there."