Muresan, Bullets put Heat on ice 110-94 win 2nd in row

Mourning outplayed

November 25, 1995|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning had a chance to take out a night's worth of frustration on one play. Four minutes remained, the Heat was losing badly, and Mourning went to the basket as if to make a statement when he found himself with a wide-open lane.

Bad move.

Mourning was met at the rim by the Washington Bullets' Gheorghe Muresan, and the 7-foot-7 center recorded his only block of the game. It was that kind of night for the Heat, as the league's best defensive team was embarrassed by the Bullets, 110-94, last night before 12,073 at the Baltimore Arena.

Miami, under new coach Pat Riley, had matched the best start in franchise history (6-2) before last night. It had a three-game winning streak and was the only team in the league to hold opponents below 90 points a game (87.6) and less than 40 percent shooting (39.2 percent).

No problems for the Bullets, who shot 55.7 percent and became just the second team to score more than 100 points against Miami. The Heat had allowed a team to score over 30 points in just one quarter, but the Bullets scored 40 in the second and 31 in the third en route to improving to 5-5 and winning consecutive games for the first time this season.

"This is a huge win for us," said Bullets reserve guard Tim Legler, who scored his nine points on three three-pointers in the fourth quarter. "We executed well against the best defensive team in the league. If we move the ball like that, we can give anybody fits."

Fits is what Muresan gave Mourning, outplaying the Heat's franchise player. Mourning scored 24 points, but suffered through a first half in which he hit four of 13 shots (he was 8-for-19 for the game). He grabbed eight rebounds, but the best shot-blocker in the league (4.4 average) managed just one last night.

Muresan? He finished with 19 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and one block, the monster rejection of Mourning with four minutes left that had the fans screaming and on their feet.

"Gheorghe was telling him the hole is his," Bullets forward Juwan Howard said of the block. "And he's not going to let anyone come in and dunk on him."

Asked if he had Mourning frustrated, Muresan said: "After the block, maybe yes. And maybe after he lost the game. I'm happy.

"I respect him, he's a good player," Muresan added. "But on the court he's not a nice guy. And I'm not a very nice guy on the court, either."

The Bullets, playing mostly without Rasheed Wallace, who sprained his left ankle in the second quarter, had a balanced attack. Robert Pack led the way with 21 points, Howard had 18 and Calbert Cheaney 17.

Howard was steady, playing most of the second half with four fouls while engaging in a physical battle with Miami forward Kevin Willis. Cheaney and Legler hit key baskets in the fourth quarter, when the Heat threatened to get back in the game. And Pack used his quickness to break down Miami's defense the entire game.

"They've been keeping teams in the 90s, and if we walked it up court it would have played right into their favor," said Pack, whose six-game streak of double-digit assist totals was broken. "We knew we had to run."

And when the running wasn't working, Muresan was establishing the team's low-post play. He was so effective against Mourning that Miami was forced to double, often leading to wide-open shots for Washington.

"They were just a very big and effective post-up team tonight," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "Muresan changes the game because of his size."

And Riley came away impressed with the Bullets.

"This is the first time anyone has gotten away from us," Riley said. "They are a very good team."

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