Bullets' win streak ends at one, 120-115

January 20, 1995|By Robb Arent | Robb Arent,Special to The Sun

MILWAUKEE -- It is not a basketball game anyone would have expected to be exciting.

After all, the Washington Bullets (8-27) and the Milwaukee Bucks (14-23) have less than impressive records.

Milwaukee was trying for a fourth time this season to extend a winning streak to three games. The Bullets were looking to tie its season-high winning streak at two games for the third time.

L It was the Bucks who won the battle of the streaks, 120-115.

Milwaukee made 16 of 18 free throws in the final period to win three straight for the first time since Feb. 27 through March 5, 1993. Vin Baker and Eric Murdock each added 17 points for Milwaukee, which has won four of its last five games.

"I think that we're starting as a team to expect to win," said Todd Day, who made five of six from three-point range. "That's the big difference. Once you start winning, your confidence picks up and that's what's happening to us."

Milwaukee hit 40 of its final 44 free throws, finishing 44-for-53 from the line. Robinson was 12-of-15 and Vin Baker was 11-of-13.

The Bullets were even better from the line, going 19-for-21, but Washington was whistled for 36 personal fouls to just 19 on the Bucks.

With the game tied at 103, Milwaukee sparked the final run of the game.

The Bullets bounced back on a pair of free throws by Calbert Cheaney and a three-pointer by Chapman that made it 115-111 with 2:26 left. But Milwaukee hit five of six free throws after that.

"It's a discouraging loss because you have to be so much better in a lot of areas to make up the disparity in the free throws attempted,` said Bullets coach Jim Lynam.

Glenn Robinson finished with 30 points and Day 29 for the Bucks; Chapman finished with 30 for Washington. Scott Skiles added 22 points and 12 assists.

But both teams entered Thursday night's game having recorded big wins over the Chicago Bulls in their last outings.

Add a lackluster defensive performance on both ends of the court to the Chicago wins and both teams pumped to run.

Day scored 14 points in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the third quarter as Milwaukee built a 77-72 lead.

Robinson's 14 second-quarter points gave him 20 for the half and helped Milwaukee grab a 61-59 lead at the break.

The game gave a couple of cross-state, former Big Ten rivals to match-up.

Calbert Cheaney, from Evansville, Indiana, played his college ball at Indiana University, while Robinson, a Gary, Indiana native, played at Purdue University.

Robinson got the best of the first half match-up, drilling 20 points, including 8-for-8 from the line in the second quarter. But Cheaney had his turn in the second half with 14.

Milwaukee continued strong in the third quarter, pulling out to its largest lead, 81-72 with 5:18 remaining.

The Bullets answered with a 17-8 run to tie the game at 89. Cheaney led the way with 10 of his 12 third quarter points, including an eight-foot baseline jumper to knot the score.

The Bucks finished the period up 92-89, but Washington refused to give up.

Washington suffered defensive troubles in the paint in the first quarter. Starting center Gheorghe Muresan was benched at 8:14 by drawing his second foul. Muresan's replacement, Jim McIlvaine, returned to the bench one minute later with two fouls.

Milwaukee was unable to capitalize on the Bullets' foul troubles, hitting only three of their first eight from the line.

Muresan did not see playing time again until the start of the second half.

It was a collegiate home coming for McIlvaine, who played his college home games for Marquette University at the Bradley Center. McIlvaine finished with two points.

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