Bullets stand up to Sixers, 102-95

February 05, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- This was the type of game the Washington Bullets have been apt to lose, a close game down the stretch where the lack of a go-to guy has generally hurt. But last night against the Philadelphia 76ers, there would be no folding at the end.

The Bullets got enough clutch play from Tom Gugliotta (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Michael Adams (20 points, five assists) and solid play from a host of others to beat the Sixers, 102-95, before 10,413 at The Spectrum.

In winning, the Bullets (15-29) ended a three-game losing streak. was Washington's first win on the road since beating the New Jersey Nets on Jan. 11. Philadelphia lost its second in a row and saw its lead over the last-place Bullets cut to three games.

"We played a lot of close games," Adams said. "We said we wanted this game, and we got it. It's a game of runs, and this game we were able to run and stay focused."

Bullets coach Wes Unseld has been forced to tinker with his lineup because of injuries to leading scorers Rex Chapman (dislocated right ankle) and Don MacLean (hip pointer). Last night, Unseld gave a start to Kenny Walker, who came through with 11 rebounds and a solid defensive effort.

Also delivering off the bench were Gheorghe Muresan (11 points, 11 rebounds for his first career double-double) and Pervis Ellison (seven rebounds, including six offensive). Washington out-rebounded the Sixers, 56-35.

"They worked harder than us and killed us on the boards," Sixers guard Jeff Hornacek said. "They came out and pounded the glass all night. They just wanted it more than we did."

Hornacek played well, scoring 23 points, and Clarence Weatherspoon had a game-high 29 points and team-high nine rebounds. But Weatherspoon was the only regular for the Sixers who hit more than half his shots (12-for-15), as the team shot 45.8 percent.

Washington led 81-74 going into the final period, but saw its lead cut to 86-84 after Hornacek converted a three-point play with 8:40 remaining.

But the Bullets would not falter, as Gugliotta scored six points during a 10-3 run that increased the lead to 96-87 after a tip-in by Walker with 4:23 left.

Philadelphia ran off the next six points, coming as close as 96-92 after a jumper by Hornacek with 2:48 left. But Washington pulled away, leading by as many as nine in the final minutes.

"Tonight was one of those nights where we maintained the lead throughout the game," Adams said. "Any time they doubled us down low we were able to make open shots."

The Bullets were able to neutralize Shawn Bradley, limiting the 7-foot-6 rookie to six points and four rebounds. Bradley scored two baskets in the game's first four minutes, but didn't score again until he hit a free throw midway through the fourth quarter.

Muresan had a lot to do with Bradley's ineffectiveness, using his weight to push the Sixers center away from the basket. Unseld went with Muresan to start the second half, and often countered the moves of Sixers coach Fred Carter when he took Bradley in and out of the game.

"Gheorghe matched up well with Bradley," Unseld said. "He played well rebounding the ball and playing aggressive."

Muresan said he was surprised about starting the second half.

"I didn't know it was going to happen and I wasn't expecting it."

Both teams played in streaks in the first half. A tip-in by Bradley, back from a one-game suspension, with 8:54 left in the first quarter gave the Sixers an 11-6 lead.

Washington got back in the game behind Adams, who scored nine points during a 13-4 run that -- after his two free throws with 4:27 left -- gave the Bullets a 19-15 lead.

NOTES: General manager John Nash said the Bullets will sign Gerald Paddio to a second 10-day contract, effective tomorrow. . . . Nash also said that Chapman, who was hopeful of returning this month, probably will return to the team sometime in March.

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