Bullets' surge bounces Bucks, 95-90 Washington wins 2 in row for first time this season

November 24, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

MILWAUKEE -- If in the future the Washington Bullets find themselves turning their NBA season around, they very well may point to last night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Seemingly more interested in catching their charter home than playing basketball, the Bullets trailed by as many as 12 points early in the fourth quarter. Then an aggressive, pressing defense sparked a 15-0 run that helped the Bullets to a 95-90 win before 16,508 at the Bradley Center.

In winning, the Bullets put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season and reached the .500 level (6-6).

After consecutive wins over Philadelphia and Milwaukee, the Bullets are beginning to prove they can beat the league's marginal teams -- something that did not happen earlier in the season.

Washington was behind by as many as 12 points at the start of the final quarter, but got back into the game on the strength of four reserves -- and a full-court press. Trailing 80-68 after a layup by Sherman Douglas with 11: 18 left, the Bullets ran off the next 15 points.

Five different players scored during the run, with Washington taking an 81-80 lead after a layup by Jaren Jackson which followed a Milwaukee turnover. Washington increased the lead to 83-80 after Gheorghe Muresan hit two free throws with 6: 24 left. Muresan scored seven of his nine points in the final period.

Milwaukee turned the ball over six times during the Washington run, which ended when Douglas scored on a layup with 6: 05 left to bring the Bucks within one. It was the start of a 7-1 run that, after a hook shot by Armon Gilliam, gave the Bucks an 87-84 lead with 4: 09 left.

The Bullets regained the lead, 88-87, after a short hook shot in the lane by Chris Webber (20 points, 15 rebounds) and never looked back on the way to the win. Juwan Howard led Washington with 23 points, and Rod Strickland had 15 points and eight assists.

Unlike Friday night, when the Bullets led from beginning to end in a win over the Sixers, Washington had a tougher task last night against a Bucks team that was welcoming All-Star Vin Baker -- who had missed three games with a sore hip -- back to the line-up.

The Bullets shot well over the first 12 minutes, hitting 52.4 percent from the field. Webber was solid in the quarter, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds. Rod Strickland also had eight points.

Still the Bullets found themselves trailing by as many as six points in the quarter, that coming after Douglas hit a three-pointer with 2: 29 left. By the end of the quarter, the Bullets had closed to within 28-26.

In the second quarter the Bullets' inability to hit from the outside hurt. Of the eight Washington field goals, seven were from within three feet from the basket. Getting offensive production solely from the inside game is why the Bullets found themselves behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter.

The Bucks weren't having a problem being one-dimensional. With Glenn Robinson (15 first-half points) and Gilliam each scoring eight points in the second quarter, Milwaukee seized control of the game and took a 58-48 half-time lead.

In the third period the Bullets got as close as 59-57 after Howard converted a three-point play with 8: 17 left. But the Bullets managed to score just two field goals over the next seven minutes, during which time the Bucks increased their lead to 72-62 after a free throw by Robinson with 1: 56 left. Milwaukee took a 10-point lead, 76-66, into the final quarter.

Pub Date: 11/24/96

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