Bullets balance Bucks Ellison rebounds as starters all produce in 113-95 win

December 04, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Forward Harvey Grant shook off a stomach virus and center Pervis Ellison came out of a lengthy funk as the Washington Bullets routed the Milwaukee Bucks -- the winningest team in the NBA -- 113-95, at the Capital Centre last night.

The win was the second straight for the Bullets (6-9), who had all five starters score in double figures and limited the Bucks to 37 points in the second half in breaking their four-game winning streak.

It was anything but pretty, with both teams committing 28 turnovers and 53 fouls being called.

"It looked awfully good to me," cracked Bullets coach Wes Unseld, who only five nights earlier in Milwaukee had seen the Bullets blow a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose, 97-95.

What particularly looked good to Unseld was seeing Grant, who had missed the team's last three practices with the flu, continue his hot shooting with a game-high 24 points, and Ellison end his perplexing run of ineffective games by contributing 11 rebounds in the second half to go with a dozen points.

"I really didn't expect Harvey to play," said Unseld. "But he's on a real nice roll now, and I'm sure he wants to keep it going."

But it took a halftime pep talk from Unseld to shake Ellison out of his lethargy. The NBA's "Most Improved Player" last year, Ellison has been hampered by a sore left knee and playing with a lack of energy.

At halftime last night, he had two points and no rebounds in 13 minutes.

"You could say I had a word or two with Pervis," Unseld said. "But it's critical for this team for Pervis to get going. He has been out of the flow all season because of constant foul trouble, and then his knee injury."

Grant also had some words with his frontcourt partner. "I just told Pervis to go out there and relax. He's too good a player not to look for his shot."

Ellison followed the advice.

"Yes, Wes and I spoke awhile at halftime," he said. "It was a situation where we were getting killed by Milwaukee on the boards. That's a big part of my job on this team. We just made a point of rebounding the ball in the second half."

With Ellison joining rookie forward Tom Gugliotta (17 points, 14 rebounds, five assists) on the boards, the Bullets got their fast break in gear in the third quarter, using a 19-6 run to gain an 84-70 lead.

Gugliotta was everywhere in the spurt, igniting fast breaks with long outlet passes, finding the open man with inside feeds, or racing back on defense to intercept a Bucks pass.

By the fourth quarter, the Bucks were clearly running on empty. They did not score a field goal for six minutes while Washington's margin ballooned to 96-79.

"This was the first game this year I thought our team was outplayed energy-wise," said Mike Dunleavy. "They shot 57 percent on us, which is the best anyone has done against us this year. But we committed 28 turnovers and messed up so many scoring opportunities. But if that happens only once in 14 games, I'll be happy."

Only the outside shooting of rookie forward Todd Day, who crammed 17 of his 19 points into the second quarter, kept the Bullets from pulling away earlier. Point guard Eric Murdock, acquired in a deal with Utah, was the only other solid performer, with 16 points and 10 assists.

But Bullets rival, rookie Doug Overton, was almost as effective, scoring 12 points and adding 10 assists.

NOTES: Bullets assistant coach Bill Blair was admitted to Anne Arundel Hospital yesterday afternoon complaining of chest pains. He underwent EKG tests that proved negative. For precautionary measures, Blair was kept overnight and will take further tests today. . . . Milwaukee reportedly is ready to swap backup center Alaa Abdelnaby to Boston for unsigned rookie guard Jon Barry (Georgia Tech). The two teams are working out financial terms, with Abdelnaby taking a pay cut to fit in the Celtics' salary cap.

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