Price shoots down Bullets in 113-107 win

November 25, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

RICHFIELD, Ohio -- Even though they had won five straight home games against the Washington Bullets going into last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers were a team ready to be had.

Cleveland had lost two straight at the end of a six-game road trip, while the Bullets were coming off a big win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Still, Cleveland's home-court dominance over the Bullets continued last night as Mark Price scored 28 points to lead five players in double figures in a 113-107 win before a crowd of 16,599 at the Richfield Coliseum.

The Bullets, who dropped to 5-5, didn't play that poorly, as Rex Chapman scored 21 points and Don MacLean added 19. As a team, the Bullets shot 52.4 percent -- their second-best effort of the season -- and even had a 41-34 edge in rebounding (Tom Gugliotta had 12 boards, to go along with 10 points).

Washington was simply unable to get out of the hole that it dug itself when Cleveland built a 16-point lead. Even though the Bullets were able to rally in the final minutes, Cleveland, which had a three-day break going into last night, was never really in trouble.

"We gave what we had, but we just weren't very good at it," said Washington coach Wes Unseld. "It's tough for a young team to play back-to-back games, especially when the second one's on the road."

While the Bullets have been boosting their bench, nicknaming the players coming off it the dog pound, it was Cleveland reserve Tyrone Hill who got the Cavaliers over the hump.

Leading 53-47 at the half, Cleveland started the third quarter with a 14-4 run that, after a layup by Gerald Wilkins (16 points), gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead, 67-51, with 8:59 left.

But then center Brad Daugherty (15 points, 11 rebounds) went to the bench with his fourth foul with 6:30 left in the third quarter, and was replaced by the 6-foot-9 Hill.

But the seeming advantage the Bullets gained was negated when Hill scored eight of his season-high 12 points (and had a season-high 11 rebounds) over the last 5:50 of the quarter to help Cleveland take an 84-74 lead into the final period.

"We should be able to go at Tyrone Hill in the post, and we weren't able to," Unseld said.

Said Gugliotta of Hill: "He did a great job, he really kept the ball active. That shows with his five offensive rebounds."

Cleveland also was helped by its ability to free its guards through an array of baseline picks. Price was the main benefactor, and the result was Cleveland's top individual scoring effort of the season. He also helped keep his teammates involved with nine assists.

"I was able to get off some open shots, and the guys were setting good pick-and-rolls," said Price, who was 10 of 16 from the field -- including hitting all four of his three-point attempts. "We just tried to run our tempo, tried to get some easy shots that we haven't gotten in the past few games. It worked out for us."

Last night's game marked just the second time this season that all five Bullets starters scored in double figures, but easy shots were difficult to come by. Even the bench, despite outscoring Cleveland's 32-26, was unable to provide the spark that it has in previous games.

"We played against guys who have been playing six or seven years together now and they know the ins and outs of every player," Gugliotta said. "They have a lot of talent and they execute. They don't make a lot of mistakes."

And thus the Bullets came up losers. Still, there were no long faces in Washington's locker room. Being .500 is a surprise to many, and the team maintains a positive attitude going into tomorrow's game at Atlanta and Saturday's home game against Orlando.

"It's just one loss," Gugliotta said. "Any loss is tough, but we just have to keep on going."

Added Chapman: "I think this is one night. We have put five or six games together and teams are going to do that. We gave a good effort."

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