Suns, McDaniel roll, 127-97, over Bullets

January 16, 1991|By Bob Cohn | Bob Cohn,Special to The Sun

PHOENIX -- Washington Bullets forward Bernard King is the reigning National Basketball Association Player of the Week. Xavier McDaniel of the Phoenix Suns is the runner-up. But McDaniel got the best of King and the Bullets last night. In fact, he was perfect.

With McDaniel shooting 12 of 12 from the field and scoring 24 points, the Suns routed Washington, 127-97, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"A butt-kicking," was what Bullets coach Wes Unseld called it. "We just didn't respond. It seems like they took it to us, kept it tough on us, and we didn't respond. The biggest thing is we were out of it before we could get started."

King, who exited in the third quarter when garbage time came early, finished with 26 points. But he missed 15 of 24 shots, spending much of the game going head-to-head with McDaniel, 6 feet 8, the forward the Suns acquired from the Seattle SuperSonics last month as what they hope is the final piece of a championship puzzle.

"I'm just shooting it," McDaniel said. "I've had these nights a lot of nights. I've gone through stretches like this. It also helps when you've got people around you who can score."

King seemed on his own for much of the game, but McDaniel had lots of help. Tom Chambers had 23 points and Kevin Johnson 20, plus 10 assists, as the Suns shot 51.5 percent from the field.

"Obviously, they played a great basketball game, but not just Xavier McDaniel," King said. "It was the entire ballclub. They took control early, and we weren't able to get back in the game."

The Bullets, trailing by 15 at halftime, endured a miserable third quarter (seven of 26) and shot 42.3 percent for the game.

Harvey Grant added 17 points and Ledell Eackles had 18, 14 in the second quarter, for the Bullets.

Going into the game, both teams were among the hottest in the league. Phoenix, which beat the Golden State Warriors on the road Saturday, had won four straight and eight of 10. Washington, coming off a 17-point victory at home over the Boston Celtics, also Saturday, had won five of six games and eight of 11. But the Suns looked to be the fresher team.

With the Bullets turning the ball over three times, Phoenix jumped to a 10-2 lead, then King, the league's leading scorer, started to heat up, scoring six quick points and bringing Washington to within 13-10. The Bullets got no closer.

The Suns caused turnovers and ran at will. They drove past the Bullets and hit the open jumper, storming to a 35-19 lead at the end of the first quarter. They made 17 of 24 shots and Johnson had 11 points.

Washington, which committed seven turnovers to one for the Suns, made only nine of 22 shots in the quarter.

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