Bullets exploit ailing Cavs, 108-98

April 09, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- For the Cleveland Cavaliers there was no Brad Daugherty, who has missed the past 21 games with a sore back. Tyrone Hill was out, after hyper-extending his right knee the previous night in New York. Mark Price dressed, but the flu

limited him to 16 minutes.

The Cavaliers were a mere shell of their usual selves and the Washington Bullets, desperate for a win, seized the moment with all five starters scoring in double figures in last night's 108-98 win before a sellout crowd of 18,756 at the USAir Arena.

In winning, the Bullets (22-52) were able to stop a two game losing streak, and at the same time, match their win total from last season. The game marked the third of a six-game stretch against probable playoff teams, with the Bullets getting a rare victory over a winning ballclub.

"I'm glad to get a win, but we have to make sure we keep it in perspective," Unseld said. "They're hurting, probably more than we are."

There was nothing hurting about the way the Bullets shot last night, hitting 55.7 percent from the field. Rex Chapman scored a game-high 29 points and Don MacLean added 26, with the two combining to hit 24 of 34 shots from the field (70.5 percent).

But it was far from a two-man show for the Bullets, who ended a five-game losing streak to Cleveland and avoided a season sweep. Mitchell Butler continued his late-season surge, scoring 16 points (seven of 10 from the field). And Michael Adams, getting his most extensive playing time since coming off the injured list on April 1, had 12 points and eight assists in 40 minutes. The Bullets, having problems on the boards of late, had a 40-34 rebounding edge.

"Washington played very well," said Cleveland coach Mike Fratello. "Washington was sharp with their execution and we had too many mental turnovers, the kind that don't show up in the stats. They deserve a lot of credit for the way they approached [the game]."

Even with all their injuries, the Cavaliers were able to score with relative ease in the first quarter, when they made nine of their 10 field goals from no further than two feet from the basket. The problem for the Cavaliers was that the Bullets were on fire, hitting 73.7 percent of their shots. Washington led by as many as seven early, and had a 29-23 lead by quarter's end.

Fratello didn't know how much he would get out of Price, his leading scorer who missed the team's overtime loss in New York Thursday night. Price entered the game midway through the second quarter and was an immediate factor. He began and ended a 19-10 Cleveland run with three-pointers that had the Cavaliers ahead, 54-52, with 2:06 left in the half.

After trailing 59-58 at the half, Cleveland came up empty. The Cavaliers were leading 66-65 early in the third quarter, but Butler and Adams sparked a 9-0 run to give Washington a 74-66 lead. The Cavaliers came back to tie the game at 76, but Washington would take an 88-81 lead into the fourth. From there, the Bullets never lost control as they led by as many as 12 after a layup by Kenny Walker with 1:27 left. With no real firepower, the Cavaliers were never able to mount a serious run.

"That's not the Cleveland Cavaliers," Chapman said, referring to the injuries. "They played with a make-shift lineup. They were just doing what they could, and we tried to exploit that."

BULLETS TONIGHT

Opponent: Atlanta Hawks

Site: The Omni, Atlanta

Time: 7:30

TV: None

Radio: WXZL (103.1 FM), WTEM (570 AM)

Outlook: This is the last of four games between the two teams, with Atlanta looking for a series sweep. It's an important game for the Hawks, who are 1 1/2 games behind the New York Knicks for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are led by F Danny Manning (26.0 ppg), who scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the last meeting between the two teams. F Don MacLean (18.5 ppg going into last night's game against Cleveland) scored 23 points to lead the Bullets in a 109-98 loss to the Hawks on March 3.

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