Bullets simply won't let foes go without present

March 09, 1995|By PHIL JACKMAN

Reading Time: Two Minutes.

Often, what happens to the Washington Bullets late in ballgames defies logical explanation. Maybe that's why their NBA record, after last night's 114-105 loss to Detroit, which hardly ever wins on the road, stands at 15-43.

The home team, seemingly recovered from a first half when Chris Webber was playing as if he had two left hands (eight turnovers), fumbled the ball away just once in the third period. Yep, Webber again.

You could sense another rally coming as the taller lineup of the Bullets was controlling the backboards. Then, with just one turnover in the previous 15 minutes, Washington journeyed downcourt four straight times without so much as a shot at the basket. The Pistons weren't tickling the twine, as they say, but didn't have to. Their lead was at six points and it had been there since early in the evening.

Detroit, once thought to be in the same lowly state as the Bullets, has won eight more and lost seven fewer games than Washington. But what can you expect when the losers set a season high for giveaways (26)?

* The Carey Craze rages on. While running his record to 4-0 as a rookie NHL goalie, Jim Carey of the Washington Caps kicked away 36 of 37 shots and blanked the Bruins in six power-play attempts Tuesday night in unfriendly Boston Garden.

The Caps won only 10 times in 38 games at the soon-to-be-demolished Garden. Dislodge one key brick and the joint will fall over onto Causeway Street. But a win behind a hometown boy (Carey is from Dorchester, Mass., which is a Ted Williams home run away from center city) was a sweet way to swan song.

* Recently, police put the chase on a huge gambling operation at a high school in northern New Jersey, a spokesman saying, "In suburban America high schools, there is sports betting." Watch some so-called progressive jump up and suggest that reading a scratch sheet, when to hit and when to stick in Black Jack and chemin de fer become part of the 11th grade curriculum.

* Roger Clemens, getting the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" treatment at his $3 million lean-to in Houston, said he's looking forward to being in the Hall of Fame: "I'll be able to take my boys to Cooperstown and I won't have to tell them how great their dad is. I'll give them a little plane ticket up there to Cooperstown and they can go see. That's why I'm playing." Yeah, OK.

* Here's a fact the NBA probably doesn't include in its promotional material: The Chicago Bulls latched onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference in 1986 with a 30-52 record. Strength of schedule and a lot of close defeats must have gotten them in.

* That Lebanon Valley team Goucher knocked off in the NCAA Division III tourney last week was the same "Flying Dutchmen" school that shocked everyone by whipping loaded Fordham in the opening round of the 1953 NCAAs.

The players, none of whom was taller than 6-1, had to stop off at home in Pennsylvania to change clothes before heading for the next round in Raleigh, N.C., where Bob Pettit and fifth-ranked LSU were waiting. LV is still the smallest school ever to play in the tourney (enrollment was just over 400 then).

* Strangely, DeMatha (24-6) didn't make the city title game in Washington. Hopefully, it won't cost legendary coach Morgan Wootten, whose teams have won 12 titles and more than 1,050 games over the last 30-odd years, his job. Honest, just kidding.

* Just in case you thought Marvin Miller, the executive director of the Major League Players Association who first gained the big edge for the "union," wasn't paying attention to the strike, he says, "The owners are in grave peril. They are currently in violation of the law. They can continue to stall things for quite a while, but they're not going to get away with it."

Miller says management errs by always following the advice of their lawyers, and you can see where the counsel has led them.

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