MacLean's 38 boost Bullets Career high helps stop Bucks, 117-104

November 18, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- A year ago, Don MacLean would have been watching from the bench, a mere spectator on a hapless Washington Bullets team. But now the 6-foot-10 forward is establishing himself as a go-to guy, just as he did at UCLA by finishing as the leading scorer in Pacific-10 history.

The Bullets kept going to him last night, and MacLean did nodisappoint, scoring a career-high 38 points and grabbing nine rebounds as Washington defeated Milwaukee, 117-104, before 6,817 at USAir Arena. MacLean hit his first nine shots and didn't miss until there was under a minute left in the third quarter.

Washington, which saw a 17-point first-half lead cut to two in thfourth quarter, improved to 3-3 -- the first time the team has been at or above .500 since Nov. 6, 1991.

There were plenty key contributors, with Rex Chapman shaking off early foul trouble to score 10 of his 16 points in the final 4:45 to help hold off the Bucks, who lost for the seventh consecutive time after a season-opening victory.

"We knew they would make a run at us," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said. "I was glad we were able to make shots down the stretch -- especially the two Rex made."

Milwaukee got within 96-94 after a dunk by Todd Day with 5:0 left, but then Chapman, who had just two second-half points at that point, began to make an impact.

He hit a running jump shot with 4:45 left, then fed Tom Gugliottfor a layup to give the Bullets a 100-94 lead with 3:54 left. After a three-pointer by Eric Murdock (22 points) got Milwaukee to 100-97, Chapman scored six straight points -- on another running jumper, two free throws and a dunk -- to make it 106-97 with 2:21 left.

"It was a frustrating game because I felt like I was ready to play, and then I had to sit after the two fouls," said Chapman, who went to the bench after a little more than two minutes. "I seemed to really get into the flow in the fourth."

MacLean was in the flow from the time he hit his first shot on a jumper to give Washington a 6-0 lead. Replacing Calbert Cheaney in the starting lineup at small forward for the second consecutive game, MacLean was 5-for-5 and scored 15 points in the first quarter.

"I got off to a good start, and when that happens, guys starlooking to you," MacLean said.

A dunk by MacLean and his ensuing free throw with 4:11 left ithe second quarter gave Washington its biggest lead, 53-36. By halftime MacLean had 21 points, hitting all seven of his shots -- not bad for a player whose career high was 24 (against Detroit last week, and against Boston last year).

"Sometimes you just get it going," said MacLean, who played team-high 41 minutes. "Things like that don't happen very often."

MacLean hit his first nine shots before missing a jumper from thright side with a little less than a minute left in the third quarter. MacLean scored on an array of jumpers and aggressive moves to the basket(he was 12 of 15 from the foul line), components that were missing from his game last season.

"The No. 1 factor is that I lifted over the summer -- I'm still liftinon every off-day," said MacLean, who said he gained 10 pounds of muscle in the off-season. "This is great, considering I didn't play much last year in games like this [he averaged just 10 minutes last season]."

Washington had five players in double figures, including MichaeAdams (14 points, seven assists) and Gugliotta (13 points, eight rebounds).

The bench also continued its solid play: Doug Overton scored 12 points in 14 minutes, Kenny Walker grabbed eight rebounds and Mitchell Butler played solid defense -- particularly in the third quarter.

"Todd Day was kicking our butt," Unseld said of the Milwaukeguard. "Butler came in at 2-guard, which was the first time we've used him there. He was able to stop Day, and that was the key."

Seven-foot-7 Romanian rookie Gheorghe Muresan played for the first time, entering in last minute and going 3-for-4 from the foul line.

The crowd cheered him, but the game belonged to MacLean.

didn't know he could shoot that well," Unseld said. "I don't know how I'm going to live with him now."

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