Hornets' scoring balance trips up Bullets, 115-99


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Although the Washington Bullets have an All-Star in Michael Adams, the Charlotte Hornets played like a team of All-Stars in a 115-99 victory last night.

The Hornets had seven players score in double figures, led by Johnny Newman's 19. Larry Johnson and Kendall Gill had 18 each.

The Bullets were led by Pervis Ellison with 19, and Tom Hammonds added 17. Ellison also pulled down 11 rebounds.

The loss dropped the Bullets to 15-30, while the Hornets broke a three-game losing streak to improve to 13-33.

In the beginning, it was the Bullets who dominated over the smaller Hornets lineup.

The Bullets' front line of Pervis Ellison, Harvey Grant and Tom Hammonds was virtually unstoppable in the first quarter, shooting a combined 12-for-16 for 24 points in the period. That gave the Bullets a 30-25 lead at the end of the quarter.

Charlotte coach Allan Bristow watched the Bullets take a 36-31 lead after A.J. English connected from the key with 9:35 left in the half. The first-year NBA coach turned to Gill to help the Hornets get back into the game and he responded with two fine plays in a row.

Gill drove for a score with 9 minutes and 9 seconds left to cut it to 36-33. He came up with a steal and fired a perfect pass to Dell Curry, who scored on a slam-dunk with 8:27 left to make it 36-35. But when Adams, who was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as Larry Bird's replacement earlier in the day, hit two straight three-point shots, the Bullets led, 47-42.

The final 3:59 of the second quarter belonged to the Hornets. After former Bullets' No. 1 draft choice Muggsy Bogues hit two free throws to cut the Washington lead to 49-46, Newman scored on a slam with 3:04 left, and came back to hit from 10 feet to give Charlotte a 50-49 lead.

Johnson connected from eight feet out on the baseline, followed by two more free throws by Bogues.

The Bullets, who shot 62.5 percent in the first quarter, cooled off for a chilling 8-for-21 in the second quarter for 38 percent. In fact, Washington scored just two points in the final 4:01 of the quarter, which allowed the Hornets to turn a five-point deficit into an eight-point lead. After Charlotte's Kenny Gattison scored on a layup, and Newman converted a three-point play with a layup and foul shot, Charlotte led 59-51 at the break.

The Bullets continued their poor shooting in the third quarter, which gave the Hornets a 14-point lead -- 87-73, entering the fourth period.

Among those struggling was Ellison, who made his first four shots, but missed 10 of his last 15. He finished with 19 points.

The Bullets return home to host the New Jersey Nets tomorrow night at 7:30. Then it's on to Orlando for Adams, the Bullets' first All-Star representative since Bernard King made the team last season. Before that, Moses Malone represented Washington in 1988.

NOTES: Adams said he was surprised that teammate Ellison wasn't selected over him to replace Bird. "A strong case could be made for Pervis," Adams said. "If they were going to take a big man, I'm sure they would probably pick Pervis because he's having a helluva year. Not too many people are averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds and not playing in the All-Star Game. I really thought they would take Pervis." Ellison entered last night's game averaging 20.3 points, was fifth in the NBA

in rebounding at 12.3 and sixth in blocked shots at 2.77. "To know I was even considered for the All-Star team makes me want to work harder," Ellison said. "Next year, I just need to step my game up a little bit to come back and have a better year."

Washington...30... 21... 22... 26... --... 99

Charlotte....25... 34... 28... 28... --... 115

WASHINGTON -- Hammonds 8-11 1-4 17, Grant 5-14 5-6 15, Ellison 9-19 1-1 19, Adams 7-14 0-0 16, Smith 1-4 2-2 4, Turner 2-2 0-0 4, English 6-12 0-0 12, Stewart 0-1 2-2 2, Eackles 1-6 0-2 2, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Wingate 1-4 0-0 2, Foster 1-2 4-6 6. Totals 41-88 15-23 99.

CHARLOTTE -- Johnson 8-17 2-2 18, Newman 8-16 3-3 19, Gattison 4-5 3-3 11, Bogues 4-8 6-6 14, Gill 8-19 2-2 18, Curry 4-13 1-1 10, Reid 5-10 5-6 15, Perry 1-4 0-0 2, Frederick 2-3 0-0 4, Leckner 1-1 2-2 4, Lynch 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 45-98 24-25 115.

3-point goals--Washington 2-6 (Adams 2-5, Eackles 0-1), Charlotte 1-4 (Curry 1-3, Perry 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Washington 56 (Ellison 11), Charlotte 54 (Gattison 11). Assists--Washington 28 (Adams 8), Charlotte 26 (Bogues 8). Total fouls--Washington 21, Charlotte 19. Technicals--Hammonds. A--23,698.

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