Price's handiwork helps Cavaliers hold off Bullets

November 26, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Writer

When most players connect on four of 17 shots, it's a struggle. But Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mark Price did that last night against the Washington Bullets, and came away the most dominant player on the court.

What Price did in the second half last night was penetrate and dish, and the Cavaliers were able to overcome a 12-point, third-quarter deficit for a 96-94 win over the Bullets before a sellout crowd of 12,756 at the Baltimore Arena.

The Bullets, playing their second game with Chris Webber and Juwan Howard, lost their fourth straight game and dropped to 4-5.

Don MacLean, making his third start of the season, scored 21 points to lead the Bullets.

Tyrone Hill scored a season-high 25 points (and grabbed 16 rebounds) and Bobby Phills added 19 for Cleveland -- and both owe a great deal to Price.

Price was scoreless in the fourth quarter, when he wound up with just two of his seven assists. But his ball-handling forced the Bullets to rotate defensively. And Washington did not do that well, as Cleveland scored eight of its nine fourth-quarter field goals on either layups or dunks.

"He always plays great, he's an all-star," Bullets guard Scott Skiles said of Price. "Once the defense broke down, he got into the lane and caused problems."

One of Cleveland's main problems was shooting: it hit 39.1 percent from the field.

Hill (11 of 17 from the field) was the only Cavalier to shoot better than 50 percent, but Cleveland had a 48-28 scoring edge in the paint. Cleveland had 19 offensive rebounds -- 11 in the second half.

"We had balls that we couldn't clear, and they got too many offensive rebounds," Bullets coach Jim Lynam said. "What was disappointing in the second half for us was our defense."

That could be attributed to Washington's needing to get readjusted having had Webber and Howard in practice for just a week. Webber had eight rebounds to go with his 13 points, but was five of 13 from the field in 31 minutes. Howard played 21 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds.

"I'm not going to blame the loss on us not being acclimated with each other," Webber said. "We just lost."

The Bullets had a 64-52 lead after a hook shot by Kevin Duckworth with 6:35 left. But Cleveland finished the quarter with a 21-6 run that gave the Cavaliers a 73-71 lead into the final quarter.

Washington's last lead was 87-86, after Skiles hit a three-pointer with with 4:22 left. And the Bullets were tied as late as the 2:53 mark after Rex Chapman hit two free throws to make it 91-91.

But Chris Mills scored on a tip, and Hill followed with a dunk for a 95-91 lead with 1:28 left. Webber hit two free throws to pull the Bullets to within two, and on the next possession hit one of two free throws that had Washington within 95-94 with 36.6 seconds left.

Michael Cage was fouled with 3.3 seconds left and hit one of two free throws for a 96-94 lead. Webber rebounded the missed second shot and launched a desperation shot from halfcourt, but the ball hit off the front rim.

"There's no time to make excuses, we just have to keep playing," Webber said. "The last two games we lost have been heart-breakers. As the season goes on, those games will turn in our favor."

Even with nearly a week off since last Saturday's loss to the Boston Celtics, it's obvious the team needs to iron out a few kinks.

"It's going to be ragged for a while," Chapman said.

Still, the Cavaliers were impressed with the new-look Bullets.

"They need a chance to mesh," Cavaliers coach Mike Fratello said. "It takes some time. . . . Their roster is a terrific young roster and without injuries their future is bright."

NOTES: Gheorghe Muresan (strained left knee) missed his third straight game and is not expected to play tonight. . . . For the fourth time this season, the Bullets shot better than 45 percent (49.4 percent last night) -- and have lost all four. Washington is 4-1 when shooting under 45.0 percent. . . . Duckworth pulled a groin muscle in the second quarter, but continued playing.


Opponent: Los Angeles Lakers

Site: USAir Arena, Landover

Time: 7:30 p.m.


Radio: WTEM (570 AM)

Outlook: The Lakers are in the midst of a four-game road trip and start the season playing 10 of their first 14 games on the road. The Lakers are led by F Cedric Ceballos, who is averaging 19.4 ppg. The teams split two games last season.

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