Bullets left low by Mavs

February 11, 1994|By Mike McAllister | Mike McAllister,Special to The Sun

DALLAS -- Few teams in the NBA have made the Dallas Mavericks look good, but that's what the Washington Bullets did last night.

The Mavericks, the league's laughingstocks, turned the Bullets into a one-night joke with a 87-77 victory at Reunion Arena.

It was Dallas' sixth victory and first against an Eastern Conference team. But the Mavericks have become tougher in recent weeks, winning four of seven after a 2-39 start. In fact, last night's win gave the Mavericks their first back-to-back victories.

The Bullets lost for the sixth time in seven games since the hip-pointer injury to Don MacLean two weeks ago in a win over the Mavericks, and Washington recorded its lowest point total of the season.

"This stinks," said Bullets forward Tom Gugliotta. "Now we go on the [all-star] break after playing a game like this and can't even enjoy it. The bottom line right now is that we're not having much fun."

"Right now if we had five of the best shooters in the league, I don't think we'd win. It seems like we don't have any objective on offense."

Washington hurt itself with poor starts in each half and never seriously threatened for the lead. Things got so bad that coach Wes Unseld emptied his bench late in the third quarter, hoping to find any effective combination. He gave reserves Kevin Duckworth, Gerald Paddio, Brent Price, Mitchell Butler and Kenny Walker extended minutes together.

Washington made a late run to close the deficit, but without MacLean and leading scorer Rex Chapman, the Bullets are clearly misfiring, as evidenced by 26 turnovers and 34 percent shooting.

"When you don't come out ready to play against a team that is ready to play, you're going to get your butt whipped," said Bullets guard Michael Adams. "They wanted it more."

Said Unseld: "We didn't play that badly. That's the scary thing. We just can't score points. And we gave up a lot of turnovers."

Despite not scoring his first basket until five minutes were left in the second quarter, Gugliotta led the Bullets in scoring with 18 points.

The Mavericks had five players in double figures, led by rookie Jamal Mashburn's 16.

"I thought defensively we played pretty well," said Mavericks first-year coach Quinn Buckner. "We were able to keep them down to 33 percent. Some of that was that they couldn't buy a

basket, but we stayed after them defensively."

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