Bullets make it 3 in row, beating Timberwolves Eackles, King, Grant pace 111-100 victory

January 05, 1991|By Jon Roe | Jon Roe,Special to The Sun

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Washington Bullets' wait for Ledell Eackles to regain his form paid off last night.

Eackles scored a season-high 22 points, as Washington defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 111-100, for its third straight victory and sixth in the past eight games.

The Bullets (13-17) also got 26 points from Bernard King and 25 points and nine rebounds from Harvey Grant.

Of Eackles, Bullets guard Darrell Walker said: "We've been waiting on him. We all know he can do it, but it's a matter of getting yourself prepared to play hard every night. And that's what Ledell has to learn. He's a real offensive threat, and what he is able to do is all up to him."

Against the Timberwolves, Eackles scored the key points when the game was on the line. He hit a field goal when the Timberwolves had pulled within 95-90 with less than six minutes to play. He hit two free throws when the Wolves trailed, 98-92, with less than five minutes to go. And, finally, he hit a long-range jump shot to push the Bullets ahead by 10 with four minutes to go.

"It's a really good feeling," Eackles said after making eight of 11 field-goal attempts in his 26 minutes on the court. "It was a good feeling to make a contribution to the team."

It has been a while in coming for the backup guard, who missed training camp and the first week of the regular season during a contract holdout. But even the Timberwolves seemed to know that Eackles was waiting to bust loose.

"We knew the guy could score," said Wolves forward Tyrone Corbin, who led Minnesota with 26 points. "There's been a lot of talk about him still needing to lose some weight, but we knew the guy could do it."

There were also major contributions from Pervis Ellison, with nine rebounds and 12 points, and Walker, with 10 points and 14 XTC assists. The Bullets survived 20 first-half points by Corbin, as they held the Timberwolves to 41 points and 35 percent shooting in the second half after Minnesota had hit 50 percent in the first half.

"Corbin was really hot in the first half," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld. "But we were able to defend against him better in the second half, and we also did a better job of getting the ball down the floor.

"I've put up with a lot of Ledell, but I'll put up with it if, hopefully, he'll play like this."

Eackles smiled when he was asked whether Unseld has been riding him hard.

"Yeah, he has," Eackles said. "All of the coaches have. But it's been in a positive way, and I know they're only trying to help me. I think I'm starting to come around now and get into the flow of the games."

The Bullets will have four days off to spend in Milwaukee before they face the Bucks on Tuesday night. The rest will allow Grant to recover from a sore lower back, suffered when he was accidentally kicked during a rebound scramble in the second half.

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