Toronto's shot with 2.5 seconds left beats Bullets Cheaney misses jumper at buzzer in 103-102 loss

November 19, 1995|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- It was a chance to get back in the win column for the Washington Bullets, who got a chance to host the expansion Toronto Raptors last night. Instead, the Bullets became a footnote in Raptors history.

Toronto won for the first time on the road in its brief history, getting a clutch jumper from rookie guard Damon Stoudamire with 2.5 seconds for a 103-102 win over the Bullets at the USAir Arena.

Calbert Cheaney had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but his jumper in the lane just before the buzzer hit the back rim and bounced away.

"When I went up I just jerked it. I held on to it a little too long," Cheaney said. "It just didn't go in."

It was a solid game for Stoudamire: 23 points, 10 assists and four rebounds as the Raptors (3-7) put together the team's first winning streak. Toronto beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

"The little guy was creating some problems penetrating and kicking it out," Bullets coach Jim Lynam said. "I watched him in college and he's got a lot of courage. He's a big play kind of guy, oblivious to pressure."

It was the second straight loss for the Bullets (3-5), who got 25 points and six rebounds from Juwan Howard and 20 points and 14 assists from Robert Pack.

After trailing by as many as 18 points in the first half, the Bullets were within 77-70 going into the final quarter. And when Tim Legler hit two free throws with 7:36 left, the Bullets had cut it to 86-84 and seemed to have momentum.

But as they did all night, the Raptors had a response to the Bullets' run. Oliver Miller hit two free throws to score the first of six straight points for the Raptors, who increased the lead to 92-84 after a jumper by Tracy Murray.

Later, after a layup by Juwan Howard had Washington within 92-89, the Raptors ran off the next five points and had a 97-89 lead after a free throw by Murray.

The Bullets finally got over the hump with 1:20 left when two free throws by Pack gave Washington a 100-99 lead -- the team's first lead since midway through the first quarter. Murray again hit two free throws and Toronto regained the lead, 101-100. Howard responded with a tough baseline jumper with 47 seconds left for a 102-101 lead. But Stoudamire ruined the Bullets' comeback hopes with his jumper in the final seconds, giving the Raptors the win.

"The first six games we played pretty solid defense," Lynam said. "My concern at this point is we played two subpar defensive games back to back. We have to get back untracked."

After a flat performance in Friday's 10-point loss at Boston, the Bullets wanted to regroup at home last night against the expansion Raptors. And Washington once again had the services of rookie forward Rasheed Wallace, who missed the Boston game after learning that his mother had suffered a stroke.

But for the second straight game, the Bullets began sluggishly and fell behind by as many as 18 points on their way to a 57-42 halftime deficit.

While winners of only two games going into last night, the Raptors had pretty much been competitive in every game they've played this season and have held leads in six of their first eight games. Last night the Raptors got the edge by shooting 57.5 percent from the field in the first half, with veteran guard Alvin Robertson leading the way with 16 points.

Washington hurt itself in the first quarter by committing nine turnovers, three by point guard Pack. Five of the turnovers came in the first six minutes of the game, and still the Bullets were able to take a 14-12 lead after a short jumper by Howard with 5:44 left.

But the Bullets didn't score for nearly five minutes. And the Raptors were running off 10 straight points, taking a 22-14 lead.

In the second quarter, the Raptors hit four of five three-pointers, with Robertson hitting three from beyond the arc in the final four minutes.

Toronto's lead was 63-49 early in the third quarter when the Bullets finally showed some signs of life. A dunk by Wallace was the start of eight straight points for the Bullets, who were within 63-57 after two free throws by Cheaney with 6:10 left.

In all the Bullets' run was 21-9, and when Howard hit a short jumper with 1:08 left, Washington was within 71-70 and looked ready to turn the corner. But Toronto got a three-point play from Zan Tabak -- who grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled as he scored on a layup followed by a three-point play by Stoudamire and Toronto had a 77-70 lead going into the final quarter.

"I think this is a learning experience for us." Cheaney said. "We did an excellent job getting back. We just came up short."

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