Pistons hand Bullets 3rd loss in row, 87-81 rTC

January 29, 1991|By John Bacon | John Bacon,Special to The Sun

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons' 87-81 victory last night over the Washington Bullets gave them a 3-0 mark since captain Isiah Thomas went on the injured list, but they're not the same team.

The Pistons trailed the Bullets, who have lost three straight, for most of three quarters.

Bernard King's two free throws gave the Bullets hope with 34 seconds left, trailing, 83-81. But the Bullets' Haywoode Workman took his fourth foul with 18 seconds on the clock.

The off-the-ball foul angered Bullets coach Wes Unseld, who said afterward: "The call did not have anything to do with the play. But you should be in a position that it doesn't matter, and we weren't."

The Pistons were not in the bonus, but the foul turned off the shot clock, and with it the Bullets' chance for a rare victory in The Palace. The two-time defending National Basketball Association champion Pistons are 19-1 at home.

King scored a game-high 30 points, but missed with seven seconds left from the top of the key.

John Long's four foul shots sealed the victory.

Long, who was brought in to replace Thomas, scored six of his 10 points in the last 2 minutes, 20 seconds. It's his third time with the team.

"Long played remarkably well down the stretch," Pistons coach Chuck Daly said. "I was comfortable with him because he's a tough, physical kind of player. We looked at one other guy, but settled quickly on Long. He fits right in."

None of the Pistons seemed surprised by Long's success, either.

"John is steady Eddie," John Salley said. "He still remembers all the plays. Of course, Chuck hasn't changed any of the plays in 20 years."

Long said: "It feels good to be back. I hit the shots at the key time. Chuck is the kind of guy who will go with whoever's hot that night."

For most of the game, that was Joe Dumars, who scored 27.

"This is a tough team to play," he said of the Bullets. "They're modeled after their . . . tough, rugged coach, as he was as a player."

Washington's Darrell Walker agreed. "It's always been a good game between us. They have more talent, and a deeper bench, but we're just a healthy John Williams away from beating them."

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