Nets pack up early as Bullets roll, 124-108 All-Star lull welcome after 7th loss in row

February 07, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Correspondent

LANDOVER -- The Washington Bullets have struggled all year to win games unless, of course, New Jersey was providing the opposition.

The Bullets made it 3-0 against the Nets last night, coasting to their most lopsided victory of the season, 124-108, before a Capital Centre crowd of 6,412.

It was so easy, in fact, that Bullets coach Wes Unseld and his players did not know how to behave.

Most of the Bullets starters played only half the game in building a 97-69 lead after three quarters and turning the final 12 minutes into extended "garbage time." A matchup in the pivot between Washington's Greg Foster and New Jersey's Dave Feitl hardly revived memories of Chamberlain vs. Russell.

Said Unseld: "It was the first time I've had to wonder whether I should stand up and look excited or sit down and act bored.

"We knew the Nets were fatigued after coming off a West Coast trip, that their starting point guard Mookie Blaylock [knee] was out, and their center, Sam Bowie, was just coming off an injury. I asked my guys to jump on them hard at the start, and it just snowballed."

Added forward Harvey Grant, who scored a game-high 22 points in 30 minutes, "This is the first 'laugher' I can remember in a long, long time. We've had big halftime leads before and blown them, but tonight we kept right on top of them.

"This is the first time in a year or so that I've sat on my butt the whole fourth quarter, and it felt great. Hopefully, we can build on this when we head west next week."

The Bullets enter the All-Star break with a 16-30 record, but have won their last two at the Capital Centre -- marking their longest winning streak here this season.

The Nets (19-28), after winning 12 of 15 in January, saving coach Bill Fitch's job, and climbing back into the playoff race, reverted to form in losing their seventh straight. And the way they capitulated last night obviously disturbed Fitch.

"The last time we played the Bullets [Jan. 3] we lost by four, but played about as well as we can," he said. "Tonight, we played as bad as we can.

"You can look out on the floor, and we're running the same offense and defense that was helping us score all those points and stop people cold in January. But now all I see is a lot of false hustle.

"If you're searching for anybody that needs a rest, it's this team. I'm glad we've got the All-Star break, because right now I'd have a hard time even getting my guys to the arena."

Fitch, under pressure all season to give more playing time to heralded rookie guard Kenny Anderson, gave the former Georgia Tech All-American his first start in Blaylock's absence.

But Anderson, the second player selected in the 1991 draft, got burned early and often by All-Star Michael Adams, who crammed 16 points and 10 assists into 28 minutes.

Anderson finished with 16 points and seven assists, but six of his points and five of his feeds came in the meaningless last quarter.

Bowie, who had scored 30 and grabbed 10 rebounds in his last meeting with Pervis Ellison and the Bullets, never got untracked after missing the last two games with a bruised abdomen. The 7-foot-1 center was limited to four points and six rebounds in 31 minutes.

But Bowie offered no alibis.

"Give the Bullets credit," he said. "I just think their passing game and motion offense creates a lot of problems for us. It's got nothing to do with guards, forwards or centers. They're just a very unselfish team."

The Bullets, save for Adams, will enjoy a four-day break before beginning a four-game trip against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday night.

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