For Bullets, 'breather' may be hard

December 20, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

For most teams, it's a stretch on a schedule that's considered a breather -- consecutive games against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks. But for the Washington Bullets, the next seven days could establish a record the team would rather not have.

The Bullets' losing streak is 10 after Saturday's 102-96 loss to the Utah Jazz in which Washington wasted a 15-point second-half lead. It's the team's longest losing streak since the Bullets moved to Landover in 1973 and is approaching the franchise record of 13 established by the Baltimore Bullets during the 1966-67 season.

So again the Bullets go on the road in an attempt to end their streak, this time playing their next four games away from home. Two weeks ago, Washington was in a similar situation, playing the Seattle SuperSonics, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns on the road. This time, the competition isn't nearly as good -- but neither are the Bullets.

When the Bullets last went on the road, they activated Pervis Ellison from the injured list, a move that general manager John Nash said at the time would signal to the team that "help is on the way." Instead, Ellison has been a disappointment, averaging 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in limited minutes since his return six games ago.

Coach Wes Unseld did play Ellison alongside center Kevin Duckworth during a stretch of the second quarter in Saturday's game -- a combination that the team was looking forward to this season. But those two played together for less than two minutes, as Duckworth got into foul trouble. Ellison was no factor during the game, going scoreless and picking up five fouls in 13 minutes.

"I thought Duckworth did a good job," Unseld said of matching his center against Utah's Karl Malone. "The foul trouble really hurt him."

The Bullets bench, which provided a spark when the team started the season at 6-6, was again no factor. Washington got eight points and six rebounds from its bench against the Jazz and 16 points and seven rebounds from the bench in a two-point loss to the Detroit Pistons Thursday.

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