Bullets rattle Sixers, 127-95 Pack's 26 points, 10 assists lead way

November 16, 1995|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER PTC — LANDOVER -- It didn't take Mitchell Butler long to reflect on what had just occurred on the USAir Arena floor, coming on one of those rare nights when the Washington Bullets had participated in a good, old-fashioned thrashing and came away smiling about it.

"For the first time since I've been here, I've been in a regular-season game that had some meaning to it, and we were the team able to deliver the knockout blow," said the Bullets reserve guard. "We were able to demolish a team to a point where they had to pull their starters."

A rematch of opening night didn't turn out to be much of a game at all last night, as the Bullets did basically what they wanted to the Sixers in a 127-95 rout before a crowd of 13,923. It was the biggest win by the Bullets since a 142-100 rout of the Boston Celtics on April 17, 1994. Last season, Washington's largest margin of victory was 16 points.

Only the blowout kept Bullets point guard Robert Pack from getting a triple double, as he ended up with 26 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Juwan Howard scored 21 points, including his first career three-pointer, and grabbed eight rebounds, Calbert Cheaney had 15 points and Gheorghe Muresan 10.

That was the scoring in the minutes that meant anything. With the Bullets sitting their entire starting five for the fourth quarter (the Sixers pulled everyone except Sharone Wright, who finished with a career-high 30 points). Tim Legler ended the game with 17 points, which matched the combined scoring of rookie Jerry Stackhouse (nine points), Shawn Bradley (six) and Richard Dumas (two).

"The bottom fell out for us over the last two games," said Philadelphia coach John Lucas, whose team lost at home to Seattle on Tuesday. "We gotta take a look at who we are. We look sluggish. We look tired. This game was over in the first quarter."

Maybe it has something to do with Lucas having three players averaging over 40 minutes a game. Stackhouse had been averaging 24.8 points a game going into last night, and had 27 against the Bullets in the season opener.

That season opener resulted in a 105-103 win by the Sixers. But days before that game the Bullets made the deal for Pack, and the guard had yet to become acclimated to his new teammates. Pack was a much different player last night, pretty much doing what he pleased against the Sixers.

"I was really looking forward to this game," Pack said. "That first game I wasn't in sync. [Last night] I knew just what to do, where players wanted the ball. I was really confident out there."

Washington scored 12 of its first 16 points off the fast break and finished the game with 29 fast-break points. For the game, Washington shot 53.9 percent.

"Which means we must be doing something right in terms of execution," said Bullets coach Jim Lynam. "We've played six times, and we've played six reasonably solid games."

And Howard has remained solid, hitting eight of 12 shots last night while playing 30 minutes. With 3:26 left in the first half, Howard let fly with a three-pointer, just as he had done eight times in his career. Only this time Howard found the mark, notching the first trey of his career.

"I had been working on my three-pointer the entire summer, and I didn't have the guts to shoot one," Howard said. "Jerry Stackhouse didn't respect my jumper and gave me some room. And I felt so bad about that that I just rose up and hit a three in his face."

It hit all net, but Howard, playing small forward this season, said don't expect him to find a home beyond the three-point arc.

"Don't look for Juwan Howard to be shooting out there," he said. "I'll stick to my strength."

It was a nice way to rebound from Friday's one-point loss to the New York Knicks, a game that the Bullets led from the first quarter until Derek Harper hit a deep three-pointer in the final seconds.

"I think the most significant thing to me is that we had a tough loss the other day and to be able to bounce back is great," Lynam said. "Our guys didn't miss a beat."

And the main guys didn't have to play the final period, for once getting to enjoy a garbage time affair with a smile on their faces.

"Last year [assistant coach] Bob Staak said we had a couple of games where we coasted," Lynam said. "When you have to call time out in a game with three minutes left, that's not a coast. We're getting a lot of good play from the guys."

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