Pacers finish with a run to defeat Bullets, 111-109 Rookie Gugliotta gets triple-double

December 06, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Washington Bullets rookie Tom Gugliotta recorded the first triple-double of his NBA career, but it was not enough to prevent the Indiana Pacers from rallying for a victory over the Bullets.

It was a particularly difficult loss for coach Wes Unseld who saw his team lose a 109-101 lead over the last 3:02, as it went scoreless, despite several makeable shots.

"We had a tough time scoring down the stretch," Unseld said. "I think we just didn't get it done. We executed, we got a good shot, but we didn't execute well enough at the end. That is indicative of this year."

Gugliotta said he was excited to have scored the triple-double, but said the team got sidetracked at the end.

"We were working our offense, but we were moving side-to-side instead of up and down the court.

"I think what you saw is what happens to a young team down the stretch. It helps to have a lot of experience to finish a game and it doesn't hurt to get a little help, to get a few calls. I think if we had some more veteran players out there, we would have gotten those."

The loss ends a two-game winning streak, with the Bullets now heading to Sacramento for the start of a five-game western road trip.

Gugliotta, who finished with 19 points -- including a 55-footer at the end of the third quarter -- 11 rebounds and 11 assists, played consistently most of the night, but could not score after putting the Bullets up 105-99 with 4:34 to go.

Veteran Harvey Grant went inside for a layup only to have the ball stripped as he went up and Pervis Ellison missed a jump shot in the lane in the final minute.

Meanwhile, Pacer George McCloud hit a three-pointer with 41.1 seconds left, closing the Pacers to 109-108.

When Rik Smits put back a rebound by Reggie Miller the Pacers took the lead, 110-109, with three seconds remaining.

The Bullets tried one desperate in-bounds play. Gugliotta attempted an alley-oop pass to Ellison under the basket, but just before the ball arrived, Ellison was nudged from his position and couldn't bring down the pass.

"Pervis was open, but he let himself be moved out," Unseld said. "You have to hold your position in that situation. You get open, and you don't let someone move you out."

Dale Davis sank one of two foul shots with six-tenths of a second left for the final margin.

The Bullets played smart in the third period, forcing Indiana's leading scorer Miller and the Pacers into foul trouble. They went to the line for 12 foul shots and sank 10 of them. Miller, who had 15 points, picked up his fourth foul with 6:20 to play and sat the rest of the quarter.

The Bullets ended the period with a bang, as Gugliotta hit a 55-footer at the buzzer to give the Bullets some room at 92-87.

The Pacers like to run and the Bullets allowed them to do that at will in the early minutes last night, as defensive pressure -- at both ends -- was lacking.

Throughout the first quarter the Bullets shot well (56.5 percent), rebounded poorly (losing the battle 24-18) and did not defend well. But the Bullets' bench played better than Indiana's with Larry Stewart (Coppin State) scoring nine points, as Washington pulled to a 64-58 lead with 1:08 left in the half.

The big excitement in the second period came when Michael Adams hit a three-pointer with 5:21 to go and was fouled. He sank the foul shot to give the Bullets a 52-48 lead and register his NBA record 10th four-point play.

The Pacers started fast with the hot shooting of Detlef Schrempf.

Schrempf, who moved into the starting lineup just five games ago, went to the basket early, scoring six of his eight first-quarter points in the first two minutes.

That performance got the Pacers rolling, 8-2.

With the Pacers leading, 16-12, Ellison rejected a shot by Pooh Richardson and that seemed to jump start the Bullets.

Ellison scored on a hook at the other end, Gugliotta followed with a steal and provided Adams with a beautiful lead pass that tied the game at 16-16.

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