Spurs drop Bullets for 11th win in row, 112-101 Robinson scores 33 in only 28 minutes

March 21, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER - It was the perfect script for the Washington Bullets.

San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson was saddled with foul trouble that limited his minutes for much of the night and, when that happens, opponents usually like their chances.

But Robinson made the most of his 28 minutes last night, scoring 33 points and having to earn every point in a duel with Gheorghe Muresan, who had 30. The difference was that Robinson had a little bit more help from his teammates, and the Spurs extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 112-101 win over the Bullets before a crowd of 15,123 at USAir Arena.

The win put an end to Washington's two-game winning streak, and dropped the Bullets six games under .500 (30-36). The Bullets also failed to gain ground on the eighth and final playoff spot held by the Charlotte Hornets (33-32), who lost last night to the Toronto Raptors.

Offense was not a problem last night for the Bullets, who, led by Muresan hitting 14 of 18 shots, shot 51.2 percent. The Bullets lost because they allowed the Spurs to shoot 60.5 percent, the most by a Washington opponent this season.

"When I look at the numbers and see a team that shoots 60 percent, I stop right there," Bullets coach Jim Lynam said. "That's game, set and match."

It didn't help that the already short-handed Bullets found themselves even more so along the front line. Jim McIlvaine, bothered by a stomach virus, played two minutes in the first half and didn't return to the bench in the second. And forward Rasheed Wallace took a step backward from his recent displays of maturity on the court, picking up two technical fouls with 6: 34 XTC left and getting ejected by referee Ted Bernhardt.

Bernhardt is the official who got head-butted by Chicago's Dennis Rodman on Saturday. Wallace apparently made a reference to the head-butt to earn his second technical. As Wallace, who was unavailable for comment after the game, was escorted away the crowd chant of "head-butt, head-butt" filled the arena.

"We need Rasheed in there, we need his inside play," Juwan Howard said. "After he left we just had to pull together and do what we could."

The Bullets made their impact mostly when Robinson was on the bench. Robinson, who had 21 points in 14 minutes in the first half, picked up his fourth foul with 9: 35 left in the third and sat out the rest of the quarter.

And the Bullets pulled to within 71-69 after a jumper by Wallace with 7: 09 left. But 35 seconds later he was ejected. And the Spurs, getting 12 points from Avery Johnson in the quarter, increased the lead by as many as eight and took a 91-85 lead in the final quarter.

And then Robinson returned, putting to rest any thought of a comeback by the Bullets who got just two points from Howard in the fourth quarter. Robinson's supporting cast made a huge impact: Johnson had 19 points and 10 assists, Charles Smith 18 points and Will Perdue eight points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.

"We had good ball movement for the most part," Spurs coach Bob Hill said. "I think we really used the width of the court."

The Spurs, who have now won six straight against the Bullets, have had success in the past because Robinson was able to run circles around Muresan.

"He's very fast from one end of the court to the other," Muresan said. "He gives me a lot of problems."

But Muresan, who Hill said "should be banned from the league", also gave fits to Robinson, who was in foul trouble because he was unable to stop Washington's 7-foot-7 center in the post.

"I can see how he can be the most improved player in the league," Robinson said. "He's so big, so tough to move. He really challenged me tonight."

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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