76ers beat Bullets at buzzer Chapman's error costly, 119-117

January 09, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- In the final minute at the Capital Centre last night, Washington Bullets guard Rex Chapman found more than enough time to turn from hero to goat, paving the way for a buzzer-beating rebounding hoop by Ron Anderson that gave the Philadelphia 76ers a pulsating 119-117 victory.

Chapman had tied the score at 117, making a three-point shot with 44 seconds remaining. Not known for his defense, he then drew a charging foul at midcourt by rival guard Johnny Dawkins with 19 seconds left, setting up the finish for the sellout crowd of 18,756.

Everything seemed to favor the Bullets, who had rallied in the second half to make up a 16-point deficit. They could control the 24-second clock, get the final shot and prevent the 76ers from winning.

Or so it seemed. The Bullets called two timeouts to map their strategy. The first play was designed for Chapman to shoot, the second, the "54 play," had forward Harvey Grant attempting the game-winner in the closing seconds.

"When I saw the 76ers put [7-foot-4 center] Manute Bol into the game, I changed the play, figuring Manute wouldn't switch off if Harvey came free off a pick play," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said. "And, if he did, Harvey could always give the ball back to Pervis Ellison inside."

Unfortunately for the Bullets, Chapman left the team huddle unaware of the change in plans. He fired up a long jump shot that not only misfired, but also gave the 76ers a chance to win with 3.4 seconds remaining.

"It was definitely my mistake," Chapman said. "We started running the play with seven or eight seconds. When I caught the ball, I looked for Harvey on my right, but when he wasn't there, I shot it, not even looking at the clock."

The 76ers milked the 3.4 seconds for all it was worth. First, impressive rookie forward Clarence Weatherspoon (24 points, eight rebounds) worked his way inside, but defensive specialist Charles Jones tipped Anderson's pass out of bounds.

There were 1.6 seconds left. Guard Jeff Hornacek found room on the baseline to try a hurried jump shot that cleared the basket. Jones, who had helped defend Hornacek,left a lane open for Anderson to charge underneath, snare the crucial rebound and score the winning hoop just as time expired.

"When my man [Jones] left me to help out, I flew right to the basket," Anderson said. "My only instinct was to grab the ball and put it in the hole. I didn't hear the buzzer go off when I shot it, so I knew it was good."

NOTES: Bernard King's latest comeback was put on hold yesterday. Bullets general manager John Nash said: "Bernard wants to play and be activated. But we want to be sure he's ready to play and that his knee will hold up. We haven't seen Bernard in a year and a half. It would be reasonable to see him practice for a couple of weeks and determine that he's going to be able to play 20 or 30 minutes."

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