Bogues shows Unseld what he missed Hornets guard helps beat Bullets, 115-99

February 05, 1992|By Bruce Martin | Bruce Martin,Special to The Sun

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Wes Unseld took over the Washington Bullets in 1988, he didn't think Muggsy Bogues would fit in with the type of team he wanted to build.

Bogues, a former first-round draft choice of the Bullets in 1987, came back to haunt his former team, leading the Charlotte Hornets to a 115-99 win last night.

Bogues, a Baltimore native who played at Dunbar High School, scored 14 points with eight assists and directed a Hornets offense that turned the ball over just eight times. His defense also helped force 16 turnovers by the Bullets, who lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Seven Charlotte players scored in double figures.

"I don't think we did anything to deter them from doing that," Unseld said. "The big problem with us is we have to match them and we didn't.

"We haven't been playing very well lately. We got off a losing streak and I thought we would be more into it tonight. We looked a little tired.

"I thought the guy who hurt us was Muggsy."

During Bogues' rookie season, he played a considerable amount off the bench for then-coach Kevin Loughery. But midway through that season, Loughery was fired and replaced by Unseld, who didn't think Manute Bol and Bogues could help his team.

Bogues was chosen by the Hornets in the 1988 NBA expansion draft. Since that time, he apparently has changed Unseld's opinion of the 5-foot-3 player.

"Well, I thank Wes for that," Bogues said. "Wes is all right. We had a good relationship, even though it didn't work out.

"We never ran a system like they do now when I was with the Bullets. We were always a walk-it-up type team when I was there. I guess now, they are committing themselves to that up-tempo. They went and got Michael Adams.

"I'm glad Wes finally appreciates what I can do, but I can't get inside his head -- what he thinks is what he thinks. I can't be too concerned what Wes thinks; I just go in there and play basketball."

Adams, who was named to the NBA's Eastern Conference All-Star team yesterday in place of the injured Larry Bird, can appreciate Bogues' ability to wreak havoc with the opponent.

"Muggsy was penetrating and kicking the ball out," said Adams, who scored 16 points. "You want Muggsy to shoot the jump shot first, but he hurt us in the first half with that shot. He did play well."

The Bullets appeared in control of the game in the first quarter after shooting 62.5 percent. The front line of Tom Hammonds, Pervis Ellison and Harvey Grant shot a combined 12-for-16 for 24 points to give Washington a 30-25 lead after the first quarter.

But the Bullets offense came to a screeching halt with 4 minutes, 1 second left in the second quarter. That is when the Hornets outscored Washington, 15-2, and turned a 49-44 deficit into a 59-51 halftime lead.

"At the end of the second quarter, we couldn't score," Adams said. "Everything went downhill from there, and we couldn't recover."

The Hornets opened it up in the second half, and led by as much as 107-85 before the Bullets limped home with another loss to drop their record to 15-30.

"In my mind, if you only have 15 wins, you haven't been playing well all season," Adams said. "Obviously, we try to win one game at a time and build on those things. It didn't work out that way."

Five Bullets scored in double figures, led by Ellison's 19 points and 11 rebounds. He made his first four shots, but missed 10 of his last 15.

The Hornets had seven players in double figures, led by Johnny Newman's 19. Larry Johnson and Kendall Gill had 18 apiece.

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