Webber, Bullets rebound, top Spurs Forward's 21 boards, 22 points propel team to 96-86 victory

November 07, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- With David Robinson back home nursing a sore lower back, it was the perfect time for the Washington Bullets to take on the San Antonio Spurs. And no one on the floor took advantage more than Bullets forward Chris Webber.

Webber had a career game in rebounding, grabbing 21. The 6-foot-10 forward also scored 22 points to help the Bullets to a 96-86 win over the Spurs before a crowd of 17,110 at USAir Arena last night.

It wasn't just Webber whohelped the Bullets to their first home win of the season. Juwan Howard also recorded a double-double, with 22 points and 12 rebounds. And three-point scoring from the bench helped break open the game at the start of the fourth quarter, helping the Bullets improve to 2-1.

In losing, the Spurs had their three-game winning streak at the USAir Arena snapped. Sean Elliott scored 18 points and Dominique Wilkins had 13 for the Spurs.

With a 70-67 lead going into the fourth quarter, Bullets coach Jim Lynam left it up to a lineup of four reserves and starter Webber to hold the lead. Not only did the reserves hold the lead, they built on it as Jaren Jackson, Chris Whitney and Tracy Murray hit consecutive three-pointers at the start of the quarter. Murray's three-pointer with 9: 26 left gave the Bullets a 79-70 lead.

And the Bullets maintained the lead the rest of the way, playing an aggressive defense that held the Spurs to just three field goals over the first seven minutes of the quarter. Washington led by as many as 10 points.

After Saturday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the home opener, the Bullets figured to have an easier time against a Spurs team missing two key players. Instead the Bullets, struggling through a second quarter in which they hit just seven of 22 shots, went into the half trailing, 47-43.

With Robinson out, the Spurs had no real inside defensive presence. And Webber took advantage in the opening quarter when he nearly recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Washington opened the game hitting five of its first eight shots, taking a 10-3 lead after Webber rebounded his own miss and finished with a dunk with 8: 04 left. And the Bullets' defense managed to take San Antonio out of its offense early, forcing two turnovers and limiting the Spurs to just four shot attempts in the first four minutes.

The Spurs never led in the quarter, although they did get as close as 18-17 after a free throw by Carl Herrera with 3: 08 left. But a fast-break layup by Webber was the first of six straight points by the Bullets, who increased the lead to 24-17 after a layup by Rod Strickland with 1: 15 left. The Bullets, with a 15-8 rebounding edge, had a 26-23 lead at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Spurs would tie the game at 31 on a layup by Charles Smith. After the Bullets increased the lead to 37-33, the Spurs went on a 10-2 run. Elliott, a forward, scored the final six points of the run and, after his baseline dunk with 1: 09 left, the Spurs had a 45-39 lead.

Washington closed to 45-43 after two free throws by Strickland with 27 seconds left. But Wilkins showed that he still has spring in his old legs, driving the middle and double-clutching on a two-hand slam with five seconds left to give the Spurs a 47-43 halftime lead.

After seeing their offense stall in the second quarter, the Bullets came alive after halftime when they began running. A fast-break dunk by Webber with 6: 09 left gave the Bullets a 56-53 lead.

San Antonio scored the next six points, taking a 59-56 lead after a layup by Greg Anderson with 4: 41 left. But Howard would score six points during a 14-5 run, and his layup with 34 seconds left gave the Bullets a 70-64 lead. Howard scored eight points in the quarter, helping the Bullets take a 70-67 lead into the final quarter.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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