Bullets trip, fall to 76ers

November 10, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- For a long time, Washington Bullets guard Rex Chapman sat in front of his locker, arms crossed and dejected. Even though several teammates already had showered and gone, Chapman still couldn't get the final seconds of last night's game out of his mind.

For the third straight game, Chapman found himself determining the outcome. But instead of celebrating a winning shot, Chapman instead was left upset about a foul call he did not get in a 98-97 loss before a crowd of 6,811 at the Spectrum.

The Bullets had blown an 18-point fourth-quarter lead, but looked on the verge of surviving with a one-point lead and the ball with less than 10 seconds remaining.

But Chapman, taking a pass in the backcourt from Scott Skiles, tried to dribble through the double-team of Dana Barros and Jeff Malone. Tripped up, he fell to the court.

Apparently the new no-hand-checking rules don't apply to tackling. Hue Hollins -- who stood over the play -- made no call. Barros picked up the loose ball and scored on a layup over a recovering Chapman with 7.1 seconds left for a 98-97 lead -- Philadelphia's only lead of the game. Tom Gugliotta's jumper in the lane before the buzzer fell short, and the Bullets were denied their first 3-0 start since the 1978-79 season.

The Sixers celebrated, winning their first game of the season after an 0-3 start. And Chapman seethed.

"I got fouled, I know that," Chapman said, needing no prompting. "I guess I'll apologize for anything I say after looking at the films, but he should do the same. And I'll bet he agrees."

Maybe Hollins -- who made the controversial foul call against Chicago's Scottie Pippen in last season's Knicks playoff series -- might agree after watching tape. But the Bullets, after viewing the same tape, would have to admit to letting a golden opportunity slip away.

Washington, the surprise team of this young NBA season, had won its first two games over Orlando and Chicago by a combined four points.

But coach Jim Lynam, returning to the city where he was coach and general manager, put it all in proper perspective after the Bullets, who limited Philadelphia to 41.8 percent shooting from the field, allowed 39 points in the fourth quarter.

"It doesn't matter about the Rex Chapman no-call -- we should have won the game," Lynam said. "The Sixers were aggressive and played tough. I thought they increased their defensive intensity and got out on the break in the fourth quarter."

Philadelphia had to run, after falling behind by 18 (83-65) with 8:22 left to play.

The Sixers had a lot of contributors during their fourth-quarter comeback. Malone, the former Bullets guard, scored 13 of his game-high 22, hitting five of six shots. Barros scored 11 of his 16 in the quarter, passing off for six of his game-high 10 assists. And Clarence Weatherspoon scored nine of his 15 points, hitting three of four shots.

In all the Sixers, who at one point missed 12 straight field-goal attempts, shot 68.4 percent from the field in the fourth. Even Shawn Bradley, booed soundly when he entered the game in the first quarter, hit a shot -- and a big one. His layup with 44.4 seconds left pulled the Sixers to within 97-96.

"I was getting ready to foul [Chapman], but he lost the ball and slipped," Barros said. "It was good to win the game in that fashion."

The loss ruined the homecoming for Lynam.

"You could lose a game like this on planet Pluton, and it still would be a frustrating loss," Lynam said, when asked about losing here. "Give the Sixers credit, they hung tough."

Still learning a new defensive scheme, the Bullets were called for nine illegal defenses, passing last year's NBA high of seven for a game. Philadelphia took advantage, converting seven free throws.

Washington wasn't helped by committing six of its 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter. Three occurred over the last 1:14, denying the Bullets a chance to pull out the game.

"It was weird -- we were up [18], and all of a sudden we're only up three, two, then one," said MacLean, who scored 17 points in his first game. "It's tough."

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