EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Washington Bullets don't mind working overtime. In fact, they thrive on it.
Last night at The Meadowlands, they boosted their record to 3-0 in overtime games this young season by handing the New Jersey Nets their sixth straight loss, 116-111, before 10,301.
The majority of the fans turned out to watch Nets point guard Kenny Anderson, the No. 1 draft pick from Georgia Tech and the streets of New York. But Anderson was taken to school by Michael Adams, who saved nine of his game-high 24 points for the extra period.
Adams' last of 10 assists was an alley-oop pass to forward Tom Hammonds for a dunk. It gave the Bullets (4-5) a 112-107 lead with two minutes left. The Nets (1-6), who have not won since beating the Charlotte Hornets in their road opener Nov. 2, never drew closer than three points in the closing minutes.
It has been a tough indoctrination into the NBA for Anderson, who missed all of training camp while holding out for a five-year, $14.5 million. Since breaking in, he has had to go against Isiah Thomas, John Stockton and now Adams, three of the game's elite little men.
"He's a great little player," said Anderson, who contributed 11 points and five assists in 26 minutes, but was victimized by Adams in overtime.
Anderson had given the Nets a final chance for victory by hitting a floater in the lane to make it 114-111 with 43 seconds remaining. But Adams answered with the game-clincher, rubbing off Anderson on a pick by center Pervis Ellison, then driving to the basket for a layup with 23 seconds left.
"What more can I say about the guy?" said Bullets coach Wes Unseld, responding to a question about Adams, who is averaging 27.7 points and 10.3 assists for the injury-riddled Bullets. "He's just awesome."
Nets coach Bill Fitch seemed equally impressed.
"Adams was dynamite even before he got into overtime," said Fitch. "We didn't cover him well man-to-man. I don't know how many times we talked about 'no layups for Adams.' But he kept burning our guards because the big men didn't help out defensively."
For a change, Adams and the consistent Ellison (22 points, 11 rebounds) received significant help from their supporting cast.
Rookie forward Larry Stewart of Coppin State turned in his second strong effort as a starter, contributing 17 points and five rebounds. Forward Tom Hammonds, replacing injured Harvey Grant (foot), scored 21 points, and reserve guard A.J. English ended a five-game shooting slump in which he had shot less than 30 percent by hitting 11 of 19 for 22 points.
English's effort was the most encouraging for the Bullets, who have recorded three of their four victories on the road. They did not win their third road game last year until Dec. 22.
"I'd gotten real tentative because I wasn't hitting my shots," said the second-year guard from Virginia Union. "But coach Unseld told me, 'Just play your game and don't worry if you miss.'
"Tonight, I just got into the offensive flow and didn't force anything," English said. "I just hope the slump is behind me."
English, Hammonds, David Wingate and backup point guard Andre Turner spearheaded the Bullets' second unit in the third quarter when they overcame a 63-58 deficit and created a 91-86 lead with seven minutes left in regulation.
The Nets offense suffered after star power forward Derrick Coleman jammed his ankle early in the second half and retired for the night. It allowed the Bullets to double-down on Sam Bowie in the low post.
"That second unit played real well and gave Michael and me a chance to catch our breath," said Ellison. "We had a lot of energy left for the last five minutes of regulation and the overtime period."
The Bullets seemed in control when English made a running one-hander for a 101-97 lead with 77 seconds left. But Mookie Blaylock (21 points, eight assists) tied it with a jump shot and a pair of free throws.
Then it was the Nets who had a chance to win it after Bowie rejected a driving shot by Stewart. But with six seconds left on the clock, the Nets never got their fast break in gear and failed to get off a final attempt.