MIAMI -- After suffering three tough losses in a row, the Washington Bullets never really had a chance last night, losing, 125-112, to the Miami Heat.
Things may not get better before the Orlando Magic visits the Capital Centre on Feb. 2. In the next week and a half, Washington has the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics at home and New York Knicks home and away.
Miami has a losing record, though last night in front of 14,541 at Miami Arena, the Heat sent out a reminder that home is where the heart is. Unlike the Bullets, who are 6-13 at their own Capital Centre, Miami is formidable on its home court. Last night's win raised the Heat's record to 14-6 here.
Bullets center Pervis Ellison, who had been such a blessing in Washington's two recent games against Philadelphia, was a non-factor against Miami. Ellison had six points on 2-for-11 shooting. He only took two shots -- both misses -- in the second half.
Ellison did not play at all in the fourth period.
"You can't just single out Pervis," coach Wes Unseld said. "The whole group was a missing factor."
At least Ledell Eackles was around to bring some respectability to the Bullets. Eackles came off the bench to match his season high of 22 points. Tom Hammonds came off the bench for 20.
It takes about a second to appreciate Washington's other achievements against the Heat. The Bullets' 44 fourth-period points were the most anyone has scored against Miami in the final 12 minutes of a game.
Guard Andre Turner, who did not play until the fourth period, had a season-high nine assists. LaBradford Smith scored a career-high 12, 11 in the fourth period.
"We haven't found the continuity that we're looking for," said Bullets forward Harvey Grant, who had 11 points. "We've had a lot of people hurt and a lot of people in and out of the lineup."
No combination Washington tried worked against the Heat.
Similar to a game last week at the Capital Centre, Miami's Glen Rice was the biggest blot on Washington's defense. Rice, who had 35 in Miami's win over the Bullets then, had 22 last night.
Miami added point guard Bimbo Coles this time. Coles, who has started for the Heat since Sherman Douglas was traded two weeks ago, came within a point of his career high with 19, shooting 8-for-11.
"Our starters really played terrific basketball tonight," Heat coach Kevin Loughery said. "If you look at the first and third periods, we really dominated, and our starters dominated in every facet -- shooting the ball, passing the ball, defense, rebounding, getting the ball out to help us get easy fast break points.
"It was our best game. Everything fell together."
Everything fell apart for the Bullets. Washington's starters totaled 41 points; Miami's 91.
Washington had its last chance to make something out of this game in the second period. Ellison awakened to score his second field goal with seven minutes left before the half. He drew a foul on Heat center Rony Seikaly the next time down the floor, then hit both free throws to cut the Miami lead to 40-34.
On the Heat's next two possessions, Ellison blocked two Brian Shaw layup attempts to get the Bullets started the other way. Larry Stewart scored after the first to cut the Miami lead to 40-36.
Before Washington even could get a shot off the second time, the Bullets committed one of their 22 turnovers. The Heat scored, and the rout was on.