Knicks hold off Bullets, 93-85 Grant's 27 wasted in 5th straight loss

April 14, 1993|By Richard Finn | Richard Finn,Contributing Writer

NEW YORK -- The punchless Washington Bullets, dressing just nine players, put a scare into the New York Knicks last night.

Minus starters Michael Adams and Pervis Ellison and with Rex Chapman a last-minute scratch because of a lower-back problem, the Bullets avoided a knockout punch until the final minutes, before losing their fifth in a row, 93-85.

"The main thing is, I didn't want us to get embarrassed out there," said Bullets forward Harvey Grant, who made sure of that with a 16-point third period. "New York is one of the elite teams in the league and given the opportunity, they can embarrass you."

Indeed, the Bullets kept their heads high after their spirited effort against the superior-manned and more-talented Atlantic Division champions, who won their 17th in a row at Madison Square Garden.

"As long as all the guys here give it 110 percent, you can't ask for more," said Grant, who finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting from the floor.

Though Tom Gugliotta once again struggled before his hometown fans, the former Long Island high school star was pleased with his teammates' showing.

"At least we came in a gave us a shot, an opportunity to win," said Gugliotta, who went 5-for-19 after missing his first six shots and would up with 13 points. "They were just a better team."

Knicks guard Doc Rivers complimented the Bullets for their hustle and grit and issued a warning to other playoff-bound teams.

"Those guys play hard, and what do they have to play for?" said Rivers. "They are going to beat somebody in the race and hurt somebody."

Last night, it was Rolando Blackman who did the hurting as he delivered the opening blows for the Knicks by hitting three consecutive jumpers to begin the fourth period and open a 79-67 lead. When Blackman buried another jumper with 9:35 left it was a 14-point cushion.

Larry Stewart's two foul shot cut it to 83-75 with 7:39 to play, and his layup made it 86-77 with 6:49 left, but that was as close as the Bullets could get until a final-second basket by Doug Overton.

Poor shooting (6-for-20) in the last period, help sabotage any of the Bullets' upset hopes.

Grant managed just two points on a dunk in the final quarter.

"I got tired," said Grant. "They got guys banging you for three periods, and you have nothing left in the final period."

Grant was not alone in having trouble with Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason and company. The Bullets shot just 39 percent overall.

"They do mess up your timing," Gugliotta said of the Knicks' in-your-face defensive pressure. They hang on you, scratch you and then you got [Ewing]. It's tough."

The patchwork Bullets opened with their 18th different starting lineup of the season, this time featuring Mark Acres at center and Brent Price replacing Adams at point guard. The reserves did an admirable job, trailing just 45-40 at halftime.

However, missing three of their top five scorers, the Bullets simply didn't have enough firepower to win.

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