Sonics snow Bullets for 6th straight Washington loses 2nd in row, 125-120

December 28, 1990|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Correspondent

LANDOVER -- More than 9,000 ticket holders chose not to brave the blizzard to attend last night's Washington Bullets-Seattle SuperSonics game at the Capital Centre.

Bullets coach Wes Unseld said he wished he had been one of the no-shows after watching the SuperSonics cruise to a 125-120 victory before an announced crowd of 2,413.

"I wasn't happy with anything about tonight. I would have been better off not getting here," said Unseld, discounting a late rally by the Bullets that sliced an 18-point, fourth-quarter Sonics lead to 123-120 with six seconds left.

Point guard Dana Barros finally put it away for Seattle (12-13) with two free throws.

"It took me three hours to drive to the arena," said Unseld, who lives in Baltimore. "I don't think it was worth the effort."

The effort certainly wasn't there for his Bullets (10-17), who looked flat in losing their second straight, and, for nearly 43 minutes, making the Sonics resemble the first-place Portland Trail Blazers.

"We could make all kinds of excuses about having lost a tough game in overtime to Philadelphia last night [Wednesday]," said team captain Darrell Walker. "But, heck, we were tucked into our beds while Seattle was flying here from Cleveland. We just didn't came out with any intensity. They got all the loose balls and calls because they were more aggressive."

The Sonics, who have won six straight, are showing signs of becoming a force in the Western Conference since adding instant offense in Eddie Johnson and reactivating All-Star guard Dale Ellis, who had been sidelined for the first 17 games with a foot injury.

They exhibited excellent floor balance, with power forward Shawn Kemp, the youngest player in the league save for Knicks rookie Jerrod Mustaf, getting inside with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Ellis, Johnson (22 points) and Sedale Threatt scoring from outside.

The Bullets managed to stay close for one quarter, trailing 32-28, with Bernard King contributing 12 of his game-high 29 points. But with Johnson and Kemp leading the way, the Sonics built a 71-57 cushion by halftime.

Things got worse in the third quarter when the margin ballooned to 95-74 and Unseld chose to go with his reserves, featuring rookies A.J. English (17 points) and Greg Foster (12 points).

Ledell Eackles joined in a brief rally, closing the gap to 105-96 with nine minutes remaining. But in the next five minutes, Ellis scored three baskets to trigger a 13-4 run for a seemingly safe 118-100 Sonic lead.

This time, Unseld went to a trapping unit, and the Sonics had trouble with it.

"Their press caused some problems," said Johnson, "but you have to make them pay for it. We didn't attack it. We seemed happy just to get the ball over half-court."

The Sonics started making mistakes and the Bullets started hitting all their shots. They had their best chance after a three-point shot by Haywoode Workman made it 119-114 with 43 seconds left.

Seattle could not inbound the ball in five seconds, losing possession. But Bullets forward Tom Hammonds threw a pass that was picked off by Payton, who coasted in for an uncontested layup.

A jump shot by Foster pulled Washington within three with four seconds left, but the Bullets were forced to foul, and Barros put it away with two free throws.

Veteran head coach K.C. Jones, who has engineered the Sonics' turnaround with typical patience, was not phased by the misleading final score.

"That's just life in the fourth quarter," he said. "All of a sudden the momentum swung their way. But that's what fourth quarters are for -- to see who holds up, and we survived the test."

FG FT Reb

Seattle Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts.

Kemp 35 7-12 6-12 4-12 1 4 20

McKey 35 7-10 1-2 0-4 3 3 15

Cage 34 5-6 1-1 2-8 2 2 11

Ellis 31 6-14 3-3 3-7 1 2 15

Payton 31 5-8 0-2 1-4 11 3 10

Threatt 20 8-15 0-0 0-0 4 3 16

Johnson 19 7-13 7-7 1-1 2 3 22

McMillan 12 1-4 2-2 2-4 4 1 4

Polynice 13 3-7 0-0 4-8 0 1 6

Barros 10 0-0 6-6 0-0 0 0 6

Totals 240 49-89 26-35 17-48 28 22 125

Percentages: FG .551, FT .743. 3-point goals: 1-3, .333 (Johnson 1-2, Ellis 0-1). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 6 (Kemp 3, McKey, Johnson, Polynice). Turnovers: 16 (Kemp 4, McKey 4, McMillan 3, Cage 2, Payton 2, Ellis). Steals: 8 (Cage 2, Kemp, Ellis, Payton, Threatt, Johnson, Barros). Technical fouls: None. Illegal defense: 1.

FG FT Reb

Washington Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts.

Grant 38 7-13 2-2 5-10 2 5 16

King 33 12-26 5-7 1-2 6 4 29

Jones 13 0-2 0-0 3-3 0 3 0

Walker 26 4-9 2-3 2-6 5 1 10

Workman 37 5-11 4-4 0-2 6 3 15

Ellison 18 3-6 1-2 2-6 0 5 7

Hammonds 12 1-2 0-0 0-2 0 1 2

Alarie 9 0-1 2-2 0-0 1 1 2

Eackles 12 3-7 4-5 1-1 0 0 10

English 24 6-11 5-6 1-1 1 1 17

Foster 18 4-8 4-4 2-4 0 3 12

Totals 240 45-96 29-35 17-37 21 27 120

Percentages: FG .469, FT .829. 3-point goals: 1-2, .333 (Workman 1-2, English 0-1). Team rebounds: 10. Blocked shots: 6 (Ellison 3, Grant, Jones, English). Turnovers: 13 (Hammonds 3, Walker 2, ++ Workman 2, King, Jones, Ellison, Eackles, English, Foster). Steals: 10 (Workman 4, English 2, Foster 2, Walker, Ellison). Technical fouls: Assistant coach Blair, 6:37 third. Illegal defense: 1.

Seattle 32 39 32 22 -- 125

Washington 28 29 33 30 -- 120

A--2,413. T--2:16.

Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Mike Costabile, Greg Willard.

5/8

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.