Adams, Overton spur Bullets Little guards are too much for San Antonio, 119-106

December 02, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Listed at a highly suspect 5 feet 10 and 6 feet 3, they form one of the smallest guard combinations in the NBA and have started together only four times. But Michael Adams and Doug Overton could very well represent the Washington Bullets' future backcourt.

The positives this dynamic, little duo can bring to a team were clearly evident last night against the San Antonio Spurs when they combined for 41 points and 27 assists to lead the Bullets to a 119-106 victory, breaking a four-game losing streak.

"These two guys work well together," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld, stopping short of making any long-term commitment. "The biggest thing is that with both Mike and Doug playing, there's good ball movement on the court."

Dazzling would have been a more appropriate description of the backcourt ball wizardry in the first quarter, when the fast-breaking Bullets ran the Spurs ragged in scoring 39 points.

With forwards Harvey Grant and Tom Gugliotta clearing the boards, Adams and Overton were the catalysts in igniting a 19-0 run to gain a 32-9 lead, and the Bullets were never headed.

"They just blew us away in that first quarter," said new Spurs coach Jerry Tarkanian, looking somewhat shellshocked. "We just didn't defend them at all."

San Antonio (5-7), rallying behind David Robinson's 28 points and 12 rebounds, made several runs at the Bullets, closing to within 75-70 late in the third quarter.

But the rookie Overton, with 18 assists to match his point total, always seemed to find the open man, with Grant (27 points) and Gugliotta (22 points) as his principal targets on the end of fast breaks.

By the nine-minute mark of the last quarter, Washington had built the lead back to 98-81.

Adams, who had missed three games with a groin pull, looked in top form in contributing 23 points and nine assists. He had opened the season with shooting guard Rex Chapman as his running mate, but Chapman has spent the last two weeks on the injured list with back pains, and it will now take some doing to replace Overton in the lineup.

"I knew Michael had no fear, and now I see that Overton plays the same way," said Grant in praise of the La Salle product who was cut by Detroit last year and made his way back to the NBA by way of the CBA and Sydney, Australia. "They're both fearless in taking the ball to the basket, and if you run with them and get open, you'll get the ball."

Unseld will have to weigh the defensive disadvantages of rival teams posting up his two undersized guards, but Adams and Overton have quickly found a sense of balance and symmetry on the court.

"We take so much pressure off each other," said Overton. "When Mike penetrates, it puts a smile on my face, because I know my guy will switch off and I'll get an open shot. And it works out the same way when I go to the hole."

Said Adams: "We're two guys who can run, pass and take guys off the dribble. The only negative is on defense, but most teams don't like posting up guards because it takes them out of their regular offense."

In addition to his penetrating, Adams also found time to hit his 795th three-pointer, supplanting former ABA guard Louie Dampier for the all-time professional record.

The Spurs, who had won four of their past six and showed signs of learning Tarkanian's system, never got into their offensive flow last night. Only the effective outside shooting of Vinny Del Negro (22 points) and rookie Lloyd Daniels (12 points) kept the crowd of 15,642 from leaving early.

Robinson, the All-NBA center from the Naval Academy, clearly wasn't pleased with his team's lackluster effort and met privately with Tarkanian after the game.

"I've been here four years now, and I don't need anyone to get me up for a game, but some of our guys obviously do," said Robinson.

"With this team, we can't afford to come out like we did in the first quarter tonight. It was ridiculous.

"Four of our first six possessions we just dropped the ball out of bounds. They ran on us, and we didn't get back defensively. I just hope that tonight was freaky. But this clearly wasn't representative of how this team can play."

NOTES: Unseld had his original five starters back for the first time in three weeks, but Chapman, who did not start, showed signs of rust in scoring four points in 19 minutes. . . . Co-captain Grant, who has assumed more of a leadership role, has averaged 25.9 points in the past eight games.

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