Trail Blazers defeat Bullets, 123-99 Kersey holds King to 15 points

January 19, 1991|By Bob Robinson | Bob Robinson,Special to The Sun

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Second-year player Cliff Robinson matched his career high with 22 points last night and led the Portland Trail Blazers to a 123-99 National Basketball Association victory over the Washington Bullets.

It was Portland's 18th win at home in 20 games this season and raised the Blazers' record against Atlantic Division opponents to 6-0.

Robinson, starting in place of injured Buck Williams, made 10 of 19 shots from the field and equaled the total he had twice last season. He played only 29 minutes, as coach Rick Adelman used reserves through most of the second half.

Forward Jerome Kersey had 16 points and a sterling defensive job on Washington's Bernard King, the NBA's leading scorer.

King, who went into the game with a 31.1-point average, was limited to 15 points on six-of-15 shooting. Reserve Pervis Ellison was Washington's high scorer with 17 points.

"They were keying on Bernard, and we just didn't have anybodtake up the slack or make them pay," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld. "You have to play a near-perfect 48 minutes to beat them here."

The Bullets, hurt by turnovers, trailed by 17 at halftime and weren't a factor after rallying to within 63-54 early in the third quarter. The Blazers responded with 10 consecutive points for a 73-54 lead.

Portland, fast-breaking almost at will, pushed its advantage to as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter, as all 11 players who played scored. The win clinched for Adelman the head coaching position for the West team in the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 10 in Charlotte, N.C.

Portland is 33-7 and San Antonio 25-10, too large a margin for the Spurs to overcome by the Jan. 27 deadline for determining the All-Star coaches.

"We were pleased to get this win for Rick," said Kersey. "He deserves to be an All-Star Game coach."

Adelman said: "Cliff Robinson was tremendous. Tonight, he showed how well he can play defense. He was turned up tonight. I'm pleased to have the honor of coaching the West All-Star team. Not everybody gets to do that. I was hoping to have the opportunity.

"Kersey did a nice job on King, and Robinson double-teamed. That was our plan."

Turnovers hurt the Bullets from the outset and helped Portland build a 32-25 lead after one quarter.

Washington led twice in the early going -- at 2-0 and 4-2 -- with King and Mark Alarie scoring.

But the Bullets had four of their eight first-period turnovers in the opening three minutes. The Blazers had runs of 8-0 and 6-0, as they jumped in front 16-6 on Kevin Duckworth's driving layup with 7:23 left in the quarter.

Despite foul problems that limited King to 17 first-half minutes, the Bullets got within 49-42 on A.J. English's three-point play with 4:12 left in the half.

Then Washington's offense went flat and the Blazers rode the scoring of Robinson and Kersey on a 12-2 surge that pushed their lead to 61-44 at halftime.

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