Wins down, but Bullets' chins are up

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

There were no down faces. No sense of panic. No finger-pointing or distress often associated with a team in the midst of a plunge. Instead the Washington Bullets -- losers of nine straight -- were upbeat and spirited yesterday at practice for tonight's game against the Utah Jazz.

"My decision to hold practice was to make sure we were thinking about the same things," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said. "We don't want the guys feeling sorry for ourselves."

The practice was closed to the media, but behind the closed doors, the session sounded spirited and enjoyable.

"It was totally different than practices we've had," said Michael Adams. "We were just here today to take pressure off ourselves. It was fun. We didn't even think about Utah."

But the thoughts will turn to the Jazz tonight, as the Bullets try to avoid the longest losing streak since they moved from Baltimore 20 years ago. Washington lost its ninth straight Thursday, 97-95 fTC to the Detroit Pistons. The franchise record is 13 by the then-Baltimore Bullets during the 1966-67 season.

The Bullets got a bit of good news yesterday after Pervis Ellison was declared fit to play tonight. Ellison, who missed the start of the season as he recovered from surgery on both knees, missed the Pistons game after feeling soreness in his knee. Ellison practiced yesterday and then was examined by Dr. Steve Haas, who declared him fit to play.

Larry Stewart also is fit after starting the season on the injured list. But the former Coppin State star has played in only two of the four games since his return last week in Phoenix, totaling 19 minutes.

"It's frustrating for anybody to sit, especially since we're struggling and especially when you think you can help," Stewart said. "I feel good, but it's up to the coaches. We're not out of this yet. We can still get back in the division -- we just need a couple of wins."

And a couple of wins might get the fans back to the USAir Arena. When the Bullets beat the Orlando Magic on Nov. 27, the team fed off the excitement of a sellout crowd. On Thursday, an announced crowd of 8,143 fed on the players -- and in at least one case a person associated with a player.

"They got on my girlfriend so much that she was crying," Kevin Duckworth said of the crowd. "It's disgusting. We get more harassment at home than we get on the road."

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