Rodman, Pistons leave Bullets in the dark, 99-97 Washington's skid hits nine

Arena suffers power outage

December 27, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

Two streaks were kept alive last night at the Baltimore Arena. The Washington Bullets were beaten by the Detroit Pistons, 99-97, for their ninth consecutive loss, and the electrically jinxed building suffered a typical power outage in the fourth quarter.

After a row of television lights went dark with eight minutes remaining, the teams continued to play, setting up a wild finish with the lead changing hands three times in the final minute.

Isiah Thomas' two free throws gave the Pistons (13-11) a 98-97 lead with 11 seconds left. The Bullets' Michael Adams then used a double-pump fake and tried to float a shot over Dennis Rodman, but it tipped off the front of the rim.

Rodman, who kept the Pistons alive with 22 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, also grabbed that rebound and was fouled. He added the final point with three-tenths of a second left.

Wasted was a strong effort by Pervis Ellison, who put Washington (7-19) ahead twice in the final minute on turnaround jump shots. But the real killer for the Bullets was a three-point play by reserve forward Terry Mills that gave Detroit a 97-96 lead with 32 seconds left.

That also resulted from an offensive rebound by Rodman off a miss by Thomas, as the Bullets were incapable of keeping the quicker Rodman off the boards.

Harvey Grant led the Bullets with 24 points. Joe Dumars topped the Pistons with 23.

The Pistons have been one of the hottest teams since Rodman came off suspension in late November, winning 11 of 13 with Rodman averageding nearly 20 rebounds.

Detroit, which was limiting rivals to an average of 97 points, did not show its usual tenacity in allowing Washington to penetrate the lane in the first five minutes. The Bullets hit five of their first six shots for a 10-8 lead.

Then it was the Pistons' turn to display pinpoint passing inside, leading to layups by Bill Laimbeer, Orlando Woolridge and Thomas and an 18-14 edge for the visitors.

Grant kept the Bullets close at 20-18, driving for five field goals. After Thomas made a layup, Tom Gugliotta was called for successive charging fouls. On the second one, he protested and was charged with a technical.

Larry Stewart came off the Bullets' bench to score on consecutive inside moves, and Grant's jumper put the Bullets back on top, 24-23. But Detroit scored the last four points of the first quarter to reclaim the lead, 27-24.

Both teams struggled to score at the start of the second quarter. Ellison broke the spell with a 10-foot jumper. Mills accounted for the Pistons' first four points in the quarter on two free throws and a jumper.

The Pistons were forcing the Bullets to play at a deliberate tempo. Detroit was more effective playing half-court, and Olden Polynice broke free for a layup and a 34-30 cushion.

The Bullets missed three straight layups. When Rex Chapman missed a baseline drive, he argued that he had been fouled and drew a technical. Dumars converted to boost Detroit's lead to 39-32.

Grant ended the Bullets' famine with a corner jumper and Ellison powered for a layup. Ellison then rejected Woolridge's shot, leading to Gugliotta's layup. When Grant made two free throws, and Washington regained the lead, 40-39.

After Thomas hit a floater in the lane, the Bullets answered with four points to gain a 46-43 halftime advantage. The last point resulted from a technical foul against Rodman that Adams made with time elapsed.

Grant had 18 points at the break. Gugliotta grabbed nine rebounds in the first half. Rodman had 10 rebounds for the Pistons.

Adams got the Bullets jump-started in the second half, stealing the ball from Thomas for a Gugliotta breakaway, and then making a three-pointer for a 51-45 edge.

Dumars and Thomas hit consecutive jumpers, but Washington countered with a 6-0 run capped by Grant's dunk over Laimbeer.

After the Bullets' lead grew to 61-51, the Pistons tightened their defense. Laimbeer then triggered an 8-2 run to slice the deficit to 63-59.

Grant, Gugliotta and Ellison combined to boost the lead to 71-61. Aguirre made consecutive jumpers to make it 71-65 after three quarters.

Aguirre continued his hot shooting, opening the fourth quarter with a three-point shot. Unseld had three rookies -- Doug Overton, Don MacLean and Gugliotta -- on the court with Charles Jones and Stewart.

Overton and MacLean ran off five straight points for a 76-68 bulge. Thomas made an acrobatic layup, but Overton beat the 24-second clock with a 30-foot three-point shot.

With the Bullets leading, 79-74, and eight minutes left, half of the television lights went out. After a five-minute delay, the teams elected to play with less wattage in the 30-year-old arena. Adams then made two free throws and a bank shot to give Washington an 83-74 lead.

Detroit closed to 85-80 on Thomas' shot in the lane, but Adams answered with a runner. With just under three minutes left, Washington was clinging to an 89-84 lead.

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