Magic routs Bullets, 105-86 Orlando keeps playoff hopes alive

April 21, 1993|By Tim Hipps | Tim Hipps,Contributing Writer

ORLANDO, FLA — ORLANDO, Fla. -- "Young Guns" Nick Anderson and Shaquille O'Neal combined for 50 points and 26 rebounds last night to lead the Orlando Magic to a 105-86 victory over the even younger and battered Washington Bullets.

Former Magic backup center Mark Acres got coach Wes Unseld's fifth consecutive starting nod and the unenviable matchup with O'Neal, who finished with 20 points, 25 rebounds, six assists and four blocks. Acres had four points, five rebounds and a block.

"I guess it was just my luck of the draw," said Acres, who made his first start at Orlando Arena against his former mates.

"I thought Mark did what he could with Shaquille," Unseld said. "We couldn't contain them. We were gimmicking all night. I think the guys gave what they had."

The victory kept alive the flickering playoff hopes of the Magic (39-40), which remains in the hunt with Atlanta, Indiana and Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. For Washington (22-57), led by Rex Chapman's 25 points off the bench, three games remain in this season. But the Bullets insist they still have reason to play.

"Even though we have no shot at all of making the playoffs, we still have three games left and we have to play them to win," said Bullets forward Harvey Grant, who had 12 points and six rebounds.

Anderson was there early on for the Magic, staking it to an 8-4 lead with a pair of three-pointers. He hit six of eight shots in the first period for 14 points, but did not shoot in the second. Orlando shot 70 percent to the Bullets' 30.4 to take a 30-17 lead after one quarter. With 9:41 remaining in the second, O'Neal's slam put the Magic up, 39-19, from where they cruised to a 4-0 season sweep of the Bullets.

With most of Orlando's starters on the bench the rest of the first half, Washington cut its deficit to 49-40 on Tom Gugliotta's 19-foot jumper from the corner at the buzzer.

"A lot of times when we made our runs, Shaquille wasn't in the game," observed Gugliotta, who said he's learned a lot in the tough times of this rookie season. "He covers up a lot of their mistakes. Without him, they're just another young team like us."

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