Bullets stumble by Mavs Battle of bungles ends in 110-102 win

February 11, 1993|By Michael Gunstanson | Michael Gunstanson,Contributing Writer

DALLAS -- Two of the most inept teams in the NBA played some entertaining ball here last night.

Not good, mind you, but entertaining.

Thank goodness for the quick drives by Washington's Michael Adams and the dunks by Dallas rookie Sean Rooks. Otherwise, this announced crowd of 10,661 -- already bored by the Mavericks' 4-40 season -- might have been asleep by halftime.

The final: Bullets 110, Mavericks 102. The records: Washington 15-31. Dallas 4-41.

"I think this is one we really let get away," said Mavericks interim head coach Gar Heard. "I thought we had control of the game in the third quarter. We built a big lead, and we just let it get away."

Get away? More like tossed away. The Mavericks actually led by 10 with 7:34 to play in the third. But they frittered that away with errant passes and missed shots.

They shot 45 percent in the third and a measly 32 percent in the fourth.

But give credit to Adams, whose season-high 29 points -- including 10 points down the stretch -- brought the Bullets back.

"We were lucky tonight," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said. "Michael got us back in the game when we needed it. After that, Pervis [Ellison] and LaBradford [Smith] really came on strong down the stretch."

After a sluggish first quarter, the Bullets built their biggest lead of the half early in the second quarter, 32-24, on Smith's driving layup.

But poor shooting and an opportunistic Sean Rooks -- who scored seven points and hauled down eight rebounds -- plagued the Bullets. Rooks finished the half with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Mavericks took the lead for the first time since 9:42 in the first when guard Mike Iuzzolino hit a three-pointer. That put the Mavericks up 38-36 with 3:46 to play in the half.

The Bullets tied it though the next trip down the floor when Iuzzolino fouled Adams, who hit both freebies.

Dallas' Randy White hit a three-pointer and Derek Harper hit a couple of free throws and the Mavericks were rolling, as the Bullets missed shot after shot.

Leading 47-43 at the half, the Mavs continued their hot streak in the third, with Harper and Rooks leading the way. Twice, they took 10-point leads.

"We're not in the position to allow opportunities like this to slip through our hands," Harper said. "You've got to know how to build a lead and keep a lead. We didn't do that."

The Bullets narrowed the lead to two behind Adams' corner three-pointer only to watch Doug Smith and White expand the lead back to five with a layup and a three, respectively.

Harvey Grant's 14-footer from the left corner brought the Bullets to within 66-65 with 3:09 to play in the quarter. Harper's layup, five-footer and free throw expanded it back to five.

But the Bullets pulled to within one with 58.4 seconds to go on LaBradford Smith's steal and layup. When Rooks lost the ball, the Bullets had their first opportunity of the half to take the lead.

And they capitalized, with Adams hitting both free throws.

Harper hit the last shot of the quarter to give the Mavs their last lead of the game, 74-73.

"At the half we just said, 'Hey, we've got to come out and play harder,' " Adams said. "I got some shots going. Somebody had to take over."

The closest it got in the fourth was when Rooks hit a layup to bring the Mavs to within 82-79. After that, the Bullets never had to worry.

"They played very hard," Ellison said. "Just because you're 4-40 doesn't mean you don't play hard."

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