Chapman hits high of 37, but Bullets fall to Cavs Price seals verdict in OT, 111-107

December 22, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Last night's game at the Capital Centre was pushed up on the calendar to accommodate Bill Clinton's pre-election presidential gala, Jan. 18, at the arena.

But last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Bullets staged a gala of their own, with the Cavaliers winning a wild three-point shootout in overtime, 111-107, before a sparse crowd of 6,979.

A pair of three-point shots by Rex Chapman and another by Bullets backcourt mate Michael Adams produced a 104-104 tie. But Cavaliers center Brad Daugherty made one of two free throws with 38 seconds left, and forward Larry Nance controlled the missed foul shot.

It proved extremely costly for the Bullets when Price swished a 20-footer to give Cleveland a three-point lead with 18 seconds remaining.

But it took Price's two free throws with 6.8 seconds left to finally put away the Bullets.

It was the sixth straight victory for the Cavaliers (14-11) and a seventh straight setback for the Bullets (7-17). Wasted was a career-high 37-point effort by Chapman, playing his finest game as a Bullet. Price led the balanced Cavaliers with 29 points.

Cavaliers coach Lenny Wilkens said the team's recent surge was mostly a result of everyone being healthy.

When either Price (hip pointer) or Daugherty (knee) was sidelined, the Cavaliers had struggled, winning only three of 12 games.

"When Brad's out, we not only miss his scoring, but also his excellent passing," said Wilkens.

"We like to run our offense through him. But Brad is also our big rebounder. He was averaging over 12 a game when he got hurt last month. Then John ["Hot Rod"] Williams was playing with a sore hand and couldn't rebound properly. We were really hurting on the boards."

With his front line injuries, Wilkens gave more playing time to Danny Ferry, who has improved noticeably over last season. He is averaging 7.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

The former Duke All-American, who was the second player chosen in the 1989 draft, has lost some 25 pounds to improve his quickness.

"When I joined Cleveland in 1990, I thought I'd play mostly back-up center, so I bulked up," said Ferry, who played in Italy in 1989 rather than signing with the Clippers, who later traded him to the Cavaliers.

"I was never quick, but that only slowed me down even more. Now I'm moving a lot better."

Both the Cavaliers and the Bullets had trouble locating the basket in the opening minutes. The Bullets missed their first four shots before Adams hit a three-pointer. Cleveland also was 0-for-4 when Mike Sanders hit a jumper.

The Cavaliers began running isolation plays and freed up Craig Ehlo and Daugherty for easy baskets. Adams drew a technical for squawking over a foul call, and Price converted. Another basket by Sanders gave the visitors a 9-5 lead.

Washington had trouble executing its motion offense and settled for perimeter shots. Jumpers by Tom Gugliotta and Chapman forged a 15-15 tie. The Bullets then used backdoor plays to produce baskets by Pervis Ellison and Harvey Grant, but Sanders and Price quickly matched them.

A three-point shot by Ehlo gave Cleveland a 26-21 lead after one quarter. Sanders led the scoring with 10 points.

The Cavaliers continued to concentrate on getting the ball to Daugherty in the second quarter, and he scored their first five points for a 31-27 edge. But Larry Stewart came off the bench to contribute six quick points and pull Washington into a 33-33 tie.

The Bullets got in trouble when their forwards, Don MacLean and Gugliotta, tried dribbling the ball and were guilty of traveling. But Chapman made two straight jumpers to give the home team a 41-40 lead. The half ended with Washington leading, 43-42.

The Bullets shot 47 percent from the field (20-for-43) compared to 37 percent (18-for-49) for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland used the outside shooting of Price and Ehlo to reclaim the lead at the start of the second half. A three-pointer by Price and Sanders' layup boosted the advantage to 55-49.

But the Bullets battled back. Four points by Ellison and Chapman's three-point play gave them a 59-58 lead. It was short-lived. A Hail Mary jumper at the 24-second buzzer by Nance started a 7-0 run by the Cavaliers.

Grant sparked a Bullets rally with five points to create a 68-68 tie after three quarters.

The Bullets made three straight turnovers to start the last quarter, trying unsuccessfully to force the ball inside. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers ran off five straight for a 73-68 spread.

Cleveland began posting up the smaller Bullets and piling up points on the foul line to take a 78-72 lead. Grant hit a 15-foot jumper and leaning bank shot to tie it again at 78.

After Daugherty made a free throw, Doug Overton then brought the slim crowd to its feet with consecutive baskets to give Washington an 82-79 advantage with six minutes remaining.

With a chance to pad their lead, the Bullets committed three straight turnovers bringing the ball up court.

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