Bullets win 2nd in row, edge 76ers, 102-99 Washington rallies in second half

March 24, 1991|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Correspondent

LANDOVER -- For the first time in almost two months, the Washington Bullets won consecutive games, rallying in the second half to edge the Philadelphia 76ers, 102-99, before a Capital Centre sellout crowd of 18,756.

Harvey Grant made two free throws with 64 seconds left to break a 99-99 tie. He added the insurance free throw with five-tenths of a second remaining.

It gave the 76ers a final chance. Charles Barkley's three-point shot from near midcourt fell far short of the basket.

Pervis Ellison led the Bullets (25-42) with 24 points and nine rebounds. Hersey Hawkins topped the 76ers (38-30) with 21 points.

With 10 seconds left, the 76ers (38-30) had a chance to tie. But Ron Anderson and then Rickey Green missed jump shots. And Grant collared the rebound. It gave Washington its first back-to-back wins since Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, when the Bullets beat Miami and New York.

Barkley scored five points for an early 7-4 Philadelphia lead. Ellison answered with a tip-in, but the 76ers scored six straight for a 13-6 cushion.

The Bullets got their fast break untracked. Ellison contributed eight points to a 10-2 run for a 16-15 lead.

Philadelphia regrouped, and Anderson came off the bench to join Hawkins in a 14-4 run to reclaim the lead, 28-20.

The 76ers were consistently beating the Bullets down the floor for easy layups. If that didn't work, Rick Mahorn would post up Ellison inside for short turnaround jumpers. It all added up to a 34-24 lead after one quarter.

Ellison, with 12 points, was almost the whole Bullets offense. Hawkins had nine for the 76ers.

The 76ers continued to use their superior quickness in the second quarter to beat the Bullets in one-on-one matchups. Hawkins and Anderson made layups to stretch the lead to 44-32.

With Manute Bol in the game, the Bullets settled for jump shots and hit their share. But the 76ers were matching them basket for basket, shooting with accuracy from outside.

Even with new people on the floor, Philadelphia continued its hot shooting. Reserve guard Brian Oliver joined Rickey Green to give the 76ers a 64-50 bulge at halftime. Philadelphia was shooting 67 percent (28-for-42) from the field.

The Bullets could not make any inroads into the 76ers' lead in the first five minutes of the second half.

But they got under double digits when Ellison and Darrell Walker each contributed a pair of baskets to an 8-1 run to trim the deficit to 71-62.

After Barkley made a breakaway jam, the Bullets drew closer. Bernard King hit a floater, Walker's layup was inadvertently tipped in by Mahorn and Ellison jammed home a Haywoode Workman lob. Workman followed with a 20-footer, and it was a three-point game, 73-70.

The 76ers suddenly had trouble handling the ball, and Ellison rejected a pair of shots. After Walker's free throw, Anderson ended the Bullets' run with consecutive jumpers to build the lead back to 77-71.

The Bullets scored four straight and had a chance to tie, but King, after being hammered by Barkley, missed two free throws. The third quarter ended with Philadelphia clinging to an 82-79 lead.

The 76ers' lead fluctuated between one and three points in the first three minutes of the last quarter. Bol and Greg Foster exchanged dunks to enliven the crowd.

A baseline slam by Ledell Eackles pulled the Bullets into an 85-85 tie with 8 minutes, 35 seconds remaining. They moved ahead a minute later, 89-87, on Foster's 15-foot jumper.

But the foul situation began to weigh heavily on the Bullets. The 76ers began shooting the bonus with seven minutes left. Three free throws by Mahorn put his team back on top, 90-89.

The margin stretched to 95-90 on Hawkins' three-point shot. Washington battled back to pull even again at 97 on Workman's jumper. After Barkley and Grant matched baskets, Barkley and Ellison missed a pair of free throws.

Hawkins missed a jumper and Grant was fouled by Barkley fighting for the rebound. Grant converted a pair for a 101-99 lead with 64 seconds left.

The Jan. 4 trade that brought forward Armon Gilliam from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for center Mike Gminski was expected to bolster the 76ers' offense. But the opposite happened. Philadelphia went from averaging 107.5 to 104.5 points a game.

Before the trade, the 76ers had a 19-11 record. Before last night's game, they had gone 19-18, but managed to hold second place in the Atlantic Division because of weak opposition.

Philadelphia coach Jim Lynam has had several run-ins with Barkley, and fined the outspoken All-Star forward $5,000 last week after Barkley sounded off for being benched following a technical foul against the New York Knicks.

"It's no big deal," said Barkley. "It's over with."

Barkley also had a wrestling match at a recent practice with Bol. The fight was stopped quickly before Bol suffered any damage.

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