Price boosts Bullets, 100-93

March 12, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- For Washington Bullets guard Brent Price, the difference was in the preparation. And last night, with starting point guard Michael Adams and his backup, Doug Overton, sidelined, Price knew he had to be ready to play.

"It's a big difference when you know you have to play 40 minutes," Price said. "I was ready. I had to think about this and get prepared."

Making his first start of the season, Price was the difference last night against the Denver Nuggets, as he scored seven of his season-high 19 points in the final 1:18 -- and handed out a career-high 14 assists -- in the Bullets' 100-93 victory before 18,756 at USAir Arena.

It was a big win for the Bullets, who had just nine players available because of injuries to Adams (partially dislocated shoulder), Overton (strained hamstring) and Rex Chapman (hyper-extended knee).

The Bullets came through, however, with a balanced effort in which all five starters scored in double figures. Don MacLean led the way with 22 points, and Tom Gugliotta had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The big story was Price, who played a career-high 41 minutes. He had nine assists at the half, and was a key in slowing the tempo against a Nuggets team that loves to run.

"He was excellent," Bullets coach Wes Unseld said. "He kept us under control in a situation where we didn't want to play at their tempo."

And he came through with the points when Washington needed it most, specifically a three-pointer from the top of the key with 1:18 left that broke a 91-91 tie. The basket came during a 12-0 run during which the Bullets come from three points down to take a 100-91 lead after Price's layup with 30.8 seconds left.

Price scored seven points over the final 1:18, giving the Bullets a lift after their worst loss of the season (142-106 to Phoenix on Wednesday) and helping to hand the Nuggets their third straight loss overall and fifth straight road defeat.

"We definitely took them for granted," said former Dunbar star Reggie Williams, who scored 19. "We are hardheaded, and until we learn how to act like a team for every game, we won't be able to beat those teams we should beat."

Said Denver coach Dan Issel: "At the end of the game, they simply out-hustled us. They did everything better than we did, especially at the end of the game."

NOTES: Former Seton Hall star Andrew Gaze played his first NBA game, scoring four points in 18 minutes. . . . Kevin Duckworth was the only player in uniform for the Bullets who didn't play. . . . Gugliotta had a career-high eight steals, the most by a Bullet this season. . . . Mitchell Butler, who started at shooting guard and spelled Price at the point, had 16 points and seven rebounds.

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