Price and Bullets hurting after loss Sore foot sidelines guard

Stoudamire helps Toronto beat Washington again

January 14, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

TORONTO -- Washington Bullets guard Mark Price knew there was a problem even during the pre-game warm-ups. His intentions were to increase his minutes gradually, but, in his first attempt to play back-to-back games, Price last night suffered his first setback since his return.

"I got out there and, even in the warm-ups, I couldn't get it loose," Price, who had considered sitting out the game, said of his surgically repaired left foot. "I'm hoping it's not serious. I think it's maybe a situation where back-to-back games was just too much for me."

Too much that he played just seven minutes, spending the entire second half of last night's game against the Toronto Raptors getting his foot iced. And too much for the Bullets, who, one night after hammering the Sacramento Kings, got beat for the second time this season by the expansion Raptors, 106-100, before 25,432 at SkyDome.

What the third largest crowd of the season for the Raptors witnessed was their team building a 15-point first-half lead and holding off a late Washington rally to end a five-game losing streak. They also watched rookie point guard Damon Stoudamire score a career-high 29 points and victimize the Bullets for the second time this season.

When the Raptors recorded the first road win in franchise history over the Bullets on Nov. 18, it was Stoudamire who hit the short game-winning jumper with just over two seconds left in the 103-102 win. In addition to his 29 points last night, Stoudamire had a game-high 11 assists. It was the 18th double double of the season for Stoudamire, who has established himself as the league's top rookie.

"He's obviously real talented," Price said of Stoudamire. "He's got an opportunity where he gets to play a lot of minutes, and they run a lot of stuff his way. He can become a real good player."

Price got a chance to play against Stoudamire only briefly. It was younger brother Brent (11 points, five assists, five rebounds) who had a longer look.

"He shot the ball well," Brent Price said. "This was a game where we just got off to a slow start. I don't know if you can pinpoint what went wrong. We got in a hole and had to play catch-up the entire game."

That hole was the 15-point deficit the Bullets faced with 4:49 left in the first half after a driving lay-up by Stoudamire gave Toronto a 49-34 lead. Stoudamire hit eight of 12 shots in the first half, when he had 19 points.

Washington's only serious run came in the fourth quarter when, after falling behind by 11 with under five minutes left, the Bullets got as close as four points. That came after a layup by Juwan Howard (22 points, six rebounds, six assists) made it 104-100. Unfortunately, that came with 29.2 seconds left. The clock ran out on the weary Bullets.

"It's tough when you try to beat a team on the road without some of your key players," Howard said, referring to sidelined starters Chris Webber, Robert Pack and Calbert Cheaney.

"Our first-half turnovers [12, resulting in 18 Toronto points] really hurt. We played hard to get back. But it was hard to chase after the ball after falling behind by so much."

Gheorghe Muresan's 25 points led the Bullets, with Brent Price and Tim Legler scoring 11 each and Rasheed Wallace scoring nine points and grabbing 12 rebounds. But the Bullets shot just 39.3 percent from the field.

The Raptors did a little better job offensively, shooting 51.3 percent. Oliver Miller had 21 points and seven rebounds, and former Maryland center Tony Massenburg, in his ninth game back since breaking a bone in his foot, had 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in 31 minutes as a starter.

"I'm just now starting to feel confident and getting into the flow," Massenburg said. "This is a big win for us."

And maybe a costly loss for the Bullets. Washington is listing Price as day-to-day. He said he won't practice with the team today, choosing instead to rest the foot. His status for tomorrow's game against the Chicago Bulls is unknown.

"I'm going to try to get it feeling better in a couple of days," Price said. "I played over 20 minutes the my first two games, and maybe this was a bit much. I'm just going to take it easy and try to get some rest and get ready for Monday. I'd like to go, but I just have to see how it feels."

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