Bullets overtake Magic

November 28, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- For most of the night, Orlando's Shaquille O'Neal was having his way on the inside against the Washington Bullets. He had 23 points, on nine dunks, and for a while seemed unstoppable.

But Washington held O'Neal scoreless in the final period and rode an 11-0 fourth-quarter run to a 112-110 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,756 at the USAir Arena.

The win was Washington's fifth straight at home and improved the Bullets' record to 6-6. It also broke a four-game losing streak against the Magic.

"I was just trying to play Shaq the best way I could without fouling out," said Bullets center Kevin Duckworth. "Shaq was able to touch the ball a lot in the fourth quarter. He's a great player, and I love the challenge playing against him."

All five Bullets starters scored in double figures, with Michael Adams leading the way with 24 points. Rex Chapman had 19 points and Tom Gugliotta scored 19, with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Nick Anderson led Orlando with 35 points.

The game's start was delayed for 52 minutes after condensation from the ice below the playing surface began to seep through the seams of the floor.

Every air conditioner in the building was turned up, and the floors were mopped with towels continuously during the break until the floor was ruled playable by lead official Jess Kersey.

The Bullets seemed to be in good shape at the end of the third quarter, when O'Neal went to the bench with his third foul with Orlando trailing 78-76.

But in the six minutes that O'Neal was on the bench, from the end of the third quarter to early in the fourth quarter, Orlando outscored the Bullets 13-4. With Greg Kite playing at center, the Magic, which trailed 82-80 going into the final period, opened the fourth quarter with a 15-6 run, taking a 95-87 lead with just under seven minutes left.

Washington woke up, with Chapman (19 points) scoring the first eight points of an 11-0 run that gave the Bullets a 98-95 lead with 4:36 left.

"We sat out and got a break, and when we came back, we needed some buckets," said Chapman, who hit all three of this fourth-quarter shots -- including two three-pointers. "We just have a lot of fight in us. We have to continue to do this to keep the fans in the game."

"We knew they would be coming at us with Shaq in the paint, but we have guys who are not afraid to compete," Adams said.

Orlando regained the lead, 101-100 with 3:27 left, after Scott Skiles' layup and ensuing free throw.

Washington took the lead for good after Adams' jump shot, and the Bullets, who led by as many as six in the final minutes, had the 112-110 win.

The delay didn't hurt either team in the first half, when Washington shot 52 percent and Orlando 50 percent.

There were 11 ties and 10 lead changes in a closely played first quarter. The teams were tied at 7 when O'Neal began his power show. He scored 10 of Orlando's next 12 points, with five field goals coming on dunks. One dunk came over Bullets' 7-foot-7 center Gheorghe Muresan, but after the O'Neal show was over, the Magic had only a 19-17 lead.

After Muresan tied the game with a hook shot over O'Neal, Anderson hit back-to-back three-pointers (he was 3-for-4 from three-point range) that gave the Magic a 25-19 lead.

But the Bullets closed the quarter strong, outscoring Orlando 10-2 over the last four minutes that gave Washington a 29-27 lead going into the second quarter.

O'Neal scored two of Orlando's first three second-quarter field goals on dunks (six of his seven first-half field goals came on dunks), the second of which gave the Magic a 33-31 lead with 10 minutes left.

Orlando led 36-34 after Donald Royal (11 first-half points, all in the second quarter) converted a three-point play. But the Bullets' Don MacLean, scored seven points during an 11-4 run that gave Washington a 45-40 lead after his layup with 5:47 left.

The Bullets had their biggest lead, 50-44, after Doug Overton scored on a three-pointer with 3:08 left in the half. Overton, MacLean and Calbert Cheaney scored Washington's final 20 points of the quarter that helped the Bullets to a 54-50 halftime lead.

O'Neal's 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half led Orlando, but the 7-foot, 300-pound center did not score over the last 10 minutes. The Magic also got seven first-half assists from Anfernee Hardaway and scored 32 of its 50 first-half points in the paint.

The Magic was able to get to within 58-57 early in the third quarter after Jeff Turner's jumper with 10 minutes left. But Adams scored the first eight points of a 10-5 Washington run that, after a jump shot by Chapman, gave Washington a 68-62 lead.

Washington had a 78-72 lead after two free throws by Gugliotta (he was 2-for-8 from the line in the quarter). But Orlando was able to outscore Washington 8-4 over the last 3:11 of the quarter -- including a three-point play by Anderson with 1.4 seconds left -- to go into the final period trailing 82-80.

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