Bullets limping home after yet another defeat

December 05, 1991|By Kevin Niendorf | Kevin Niendorf,Special to The Evening Sun

SALT LAKE CITY -- The road-weary, injury-plagued Washington Bullets dropped a 101-74 decision here last night to the Utah Jazz to finish a four-game Western road trip with three straight losses.

When asked if there was anything positive about the 27-point loss, coach Wes Unseld was quick to respond:

"We're going home."

The Bullets players seemed to agree with Unseld as they somberly left the locker room.

"We had a chance at least the other two games, but we didn't even give ourselves a chance tonight," said Harvey Grant, who scored a team-high 22 points. "They beat us with the rebounding and they got a lot of second shots."

The Jazz outrebounded the Bullets 61-45 and hit 45 of 96 shots (48 percent) to the Bullets' 33 of 96 (35 percent). The Bullets' Larry Stewart and Greg Foster each grabbed 10 rebounds, but Karl Malone led both teams with 14.

Unseld blamed the loss on a "short-handed" team against a good team.

"It's easy to feel sorry for yourself when you're tired," said Unseld. "Some of the guys started to quit. I told them and they know who they are."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, whose team broke a two-game losing streak, agreed with Unseld.

"We caught a team tonight that was tired," said Sloan. "You wonder about your team and how they're going to react in a situation like that."

Still, the losing experience wasn't all bad, according to second-year player Foster.

"We played hard and we're still a young team," said Foster. "It's good to get some playing time and get the experience you can't get [except] in a game.

"We were outmanned tonight," added Foster. "The Jazz are a very experienced team. They play very physical and can very easily be contenders this season."

The Jazz were led by Jeff Malone with 22 points, and Karl Malone added 20.

David Wingate's steal and assist to Andre Turner on the fastbreak opened the scoring, and the ensuing inbounds pass was stolen by Grant, giving the Bullets an early 4-0 lead.

The lead was pushed to six as Grant hit a 10-foot jumper, making it 10-4 three minutes into the game.

But the Jazz used the fastbreak to tie the game at 12 midway through the period.

Despite some poor shooting, the Bullets were only down 29-21 at the end of the first quarter. Grant scored 10 of the 21 Bullets points.

The Bullets opened the second quarter with two turnovers, each following a rebound by Ralph Sampson. Ledell Eackles finally got the Bullets on track by making an outside jumper, making it 29-23.

However, after Eackles' basket, the Jazz went on a 12-2 run, causing Unseld to call time out with 6:30 left in the half. The run made it 41-25, effectively taking the Bullets outr of the game.

Jeff Malone, who played seven years for the Bullets before being traded to the Jazz before the 1990-91 season, made 10 of 15 field-goal attempts while playing just 30 minutes.

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