Bullets go with MacLean

January 23, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

For all too long, the Washington Bullets have been looking for a "go-to" guy. But they may have finally found one in second-year forward Don MacLean, who scored 31 points in a 98-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons at the Baltimore Arena last night.

MacLean scored nine of his points for the last quarter, holding off repeated rallies by the Pistons. His last point made it 90-86, and Bullets point guard Michael Adams (23 points) followed with a clutch three-pointer.

Detroit (9-28) had a final opportunity when Isiah Thomas (22 points) swished a three-point shot for 95-91 with 70 seconds left. But Adams clinched it by making an acrobatic scoop shot in the lane.

Washington ended a two-game losing streak in raising its record to 13-24. Tom Gugliotta contributed 21 points and 11 rebounds, but was on the bench in the final minutes when reserve Kenny Walker provided two key offensive rebounds to help run out the clock.

Both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Bullets converted 42 percent (19-45) of their shots, and the Pistons made only 35 percent (15-43). MacLean was the only one on target, making 7 of 9 field goal attempts.

The teams continued to struggle at the start of the second half. The Bullets were scoreless for three minutes while Detroit edged ahead, 47-46, on Thomas' breakaway.

Terry Mills picked up three fouls in three minutes and was forced to the bench with his fourth personal.

After the Bullets reclaimed the lead with four points, Joe Dumars scored two acrobatic layups for a 53-50 edge.

Two straight turnovers by Pervis Ellison, trying to pass to teammates downcourt, robbed the Bullets of easy baskets. Instead, Thomas converted one of the mistakes into a three-point shot and a 58-54 Pistons lead.

A perfect lob by Adams to Gugliotta for a slam dunk produced a tie at 58. Dumars led a 6-0 run by Detroit for a 64-58 cushion, but MacLean made a jumper and Gugliotta followed with a three-pointer.

A breakaway by Thomas made it 72-67 before the Bullets ended the third quarter with consecutive hoops by Adams and Ellison to trail by a point.

Dumars scored 12 points in the period, and Gugliotta had nine for Washington.

In a rarity, Detroit was called for using an illegal zone twice within 9 seconds early in the fourth quarter. But Adams missed the technical free throw. The Bullets drew even at 75 on a baseline jumper by Walker, who was doing an excellent job of crashing the boards. A drive by Gugliotta around Mills put Washington back in the lead.

Former Bullets center Charles Jones, who signed with the Pistons last Friday, then scored a rare basket, jamming home a Thomas feed.

With Walker blocking two shots, the Bullets capitalized by taking an 85-80 lead with 7 minutes left.

Every time the Pistons threatened to tie, MacLean produced a big shot or free throws. His five points gave the Bullets a 90-86 lead, and when Adams made a three-pointer, the Bullets led, 93-86, with two minutes remaining.

The Bullets played excellent basketball on both ends of the court the first eight minutes. They controlled the boards and had good ball movement, leading to open jumpers by MacLean and Adams.

With rookie Calbert Cheaney, starting in place of injured shooting guard Rex Chapman, contributing two rebounding hoops, Washington jumped to a 20-9 lead.

The Pistons, who ended a 14-game losing streak Friday night by defeating Miami, 118-98, rallied behind the shooting and rebounding of Terry Mills. The power forward scored seven points as Detroit closed to 22-17.

But the Bullets regrouped and outscored the Pistons, 6-2, in the final minutes of the period. Walker took a lob pass from Adams for a stuff at the buzzer for a 28-19 lead. MacLean scored 10 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the period. Mills had 8 points for Detroit, which made only 7 of its 20 field goal attempts.

With mostly reserves on the floor to start the second quarter. Mills teamed with Ben Coleman to pull the Pistons to 30-28.

After doing nothing right for three minutes, Washington put together an 8-0 run with four players scoring to increase its lead to 38-28.

Detroit began to dominate the offensive boards. Follow-up shots by Mills and Dumars cut the deficit to 44-39.

The game was developing into a shootout between MacLean dTC and Mills, who both had 16 points late in the second quarter. The first half ended with Washington leading, 46-43.

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