Shaq, Magic slam Bullets, 112-101

January 09, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. -- When the teams met last month, Shaquille && O'Neal was a fourth-quarter no-show, going scoreless in the last 12 minutes of the Orlando Magic's two-point loss to the Washington Bullets. Last night, there was no disappearing act.

The Shaq Attack was in full force, as O'Neal scored 29 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and closed down the middle as the Magic beat the Bullets, 112-101, before a sellout crowd of 15,291 at Orlando Arena.

Only two flagrant fouls in the fourth quarter, one when he hammered Don MacLean, marred O'Neal's performance. O'Neal has four flagrant foul points this season. A player who reaches six faces an automatic suspension for the next game.

"I really have a problem with these flagrant fouls. Both of them were blocked shots," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "We will send tapes of those two fouls to the league tomorrow and definitely ask for clarification and ask that they be removed."

O'Neal answered questions about the fouls with a shrug.

"I don't really feel I deserve them. I was just trying to block the shots," he said. "I'm just trying [to] play hard, play tough. I was going for the ball."

When the 7-foot, 300-pound O'Neal goes for the ball, people tend to move out of the way. Pervis Ellison (6-10, 225) was no match in a battle of former No. 1 draft picks.

"Shaq plays a lot differently than the other great centers," said Ellison, who had eight points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes. "He utilizes his down-low strengths to the best of his ability to spur on his game."

Early the Bullets were successful in double-teaming O'Neal, limiting him to four points (1-for-6 shooting) in the first quarter. But as the game progressed, Orlando's success from the perimeter created an opening in the middle. Given some room to maneuver, O'Neal dominated.

"I have a lot of moves, but I can't show them when four guys are running at me," O'Neal said. "If a guy plays me one-on-one, I can show a lot of stuff."

The loss ruined a solid offensive performance by MacLean, who scored 31, but only two in the fourth quarter.

MacLean wasn't on the floor at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Washington offense disappeared, failing to score for four minutes.

Leading 83-76 at the start of the final period, Orlando capitalized on Washington's 38 percent fourth-quarter shooting to increasing its lead to as many as 18. Washington pulled within 106-95 on a dunk by Calbert Cheaney (18 points) with a little more than two minutes left, but didn't threaten again.

"We had to make some substitutions at that point," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said of the stretch at the start of the final period. "We played the whole third quarter with our starting unit."

As the blowout developed, frustration began to show with the Bullets. Orlando's Anfernee Hardaway (18 points, six assists) and Bullets guard Michael Adams had a shouting match in the fourth quarter. Adams was charged with two technicals and ejected.

"He started talking [trash] and that was about it," said Adams.

Hardaway said Adams -- a friend off the court -- started the name-calling, cursing at a referee and at Hardaway.

"We were joking and talking the whole game and at the end he told the ref to call a foul," Hardaway said. "I said, 'Just play ball,' and he [cursed]. I thought he was playing, but I guess it got out of hand."

NOTES: The Bullets' 101 points ended a streak of 11 games in which they failed to score 100 points. The last time the team reached the plateau was in a 116-108 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 11. . . . Washington out-rebounded the Magic 46-42. . . . Adams had a season-high 15 assists, but also matched a high in turnovers with eight.

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