Bucks leave Wizards with rundown feeling

Milwaukee rolls, 105-90

playoff hopes dwindle

Pro Basketball

April 04, 2002|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

MILWAUKEE - As if Tuesday night's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers didn't prove the point to the Washington Wizards, the Milwaukee Bucks reinforced the notion that the NBA game is one of runs.

The Wizards, who were blistered by two Lakers runs in the first quarter Tuesday, got slammed by a long first-half Bucks blitz and a shorter one in the fourth quarter that snuffed out a Washington comeback try.

The result was a 105-90 Milwaukee victory that placed the playoff hopes of the Wizards in serious jeopardy.

The Wizards were overwhelmed by a 37-8 Milwaukee run that spanned the first and second quarters, taking Washington from a five-point lead to a 24-point deficit.

"We got off to a decent start and that [run] just really rocked us back," said Washington coach Doug Collins. "We came out and competed in the second half, but our defense is really bad. We just can't guard. If we can't guard, we can't beat anybody. When they made their run, we gave them no resistance. They had whatever they wanted."

With only seven games remaining in the regular season, and with Michael Jordan out for the remainder of the season to rest his ailing right knee, Washington (34-41) trails Indiana by three games in the chase for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Wizards' loss dropped them 2 1/2 games behind Toronto (36-38), which is in ninth place in the conference.

"We're going to fight it to the end. We're not going to give up and we'll see what happens at the end of the day," guard Tyronn Lue said. "We'll try to make it happen if we can. We don't want to throw in our cards right now."

The Wizards watched as the Bucks outscored them 14-6 to start the fourth quarter. Former Dunbar star Sam Cassell (19 points, 12 assists) hit three jumpers in the run to help seal the contest, as Washington could only muster one basket in a five-minute span.

"We were right there in the game," said Richard Hamilton, who had 20 points for Washington before getting ejected with 3:01 to go for drawing a flagrant foul for pushing Darvin Ham in the back on a layup attempt. "It was a game of runs, and they made their runs at the right time. The fourth quarter was too late for us to comeback being down 18 or 19 points."

Courtney Alexander led Washington with 22 points.

Next for Wizards

Opponent: Charlotte Hornets

Site: Charlotte (N.C.) Coliseum

When: Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: CSN/WTEM (980 AM)

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