NEW YORK -- This was a side of Chris Webber that had yet to surface this season. He was solemn. He was hurt. He was tired of the Washington Bullets' situation. And he was letting everyone know.
"[Last night] we set the record for the worst team in Bullets history," Webber said, his head down. "And that really sits with me."
The Bullets last night did not set the record for the worst team in Bullets history although, with five games remaining, the 20-61 mark set by the 1966-67 team is still within reach. What the Bullets did last night was tie the record for the worst losing streak in franchise history, dropping their 13th straight in a 110-100 loss to the New York Knicks before a sellout crowd of 19,763 at Madison Square Garden.
Washington (18-59) matched the futility streak established by that 1966-67 team. Only a win against the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow at the USAir Arena will help this team avoid taking sole possession of the mark.
"We're not going to lose against Milwaukee," Webber said.
The last time Webber made such a prediction, the Bullets ended a four-game losing streak in December by beating the Detroit Pistons. But this time around, the Bullets may not have enough healthy bodies to get the job done, as the injury list continues to grow.
Calbert Cheaney came down with the flu, playing just 14 minutes -- all in the first half. Backup center Jim McIlvaine hurt his left ankle during the afternoon shoot-around, and he sat on the bench in uniform applying electronic stimulation to the injury.
Don MacLean dressed, but missed his second straight game with an injured right hand. And Rex Chapman was once again in street clothes, missing his fifth straight game with a strained abdominal muscle.
"We had plenty of bodies," Bullets coach Jim Lynam said, somewhat sarcastically. "They were disguised."
And they were of little help as the Knicks (51-25) led by as many 21 points in a mostly lopsided first half. The Bullets did show some fight behind Webber (27 points) and Juwan Howard (18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists), who sparked a third-quarter comeback that got the Bullets to within three points. But the Knicks pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning their 13th straight over the Bullets, and their 10th straight over Washington at Madison Square Garden. New York, behind 25 points from Patrick Ewing, swept the season series, 4-0.
"The Knicks shot very well in the first half and that set us on our heels," Lynam said of the Knicks, who had a season-high 67 points at the half. "We battled back in the second half, but it wasn't enough."
NOTE: With two free throws at the end of the first half, Ewing became the 18th player in NBA history to reach the 18,000-point mark.