Magic pushes around Bullets, 127-100 O'Neal, Skiles lead beating on boards


ORLANDO, Fla. -- You knew 7-foot-1 Shaquille O'Neal would get his share of rebounds against the Washington Bullets. That's expected.

What wasn't expected was that 6-1 point guard Scott Skiles can grab more defensive rebounds than the Bullets' starting five put together.

It's been that kind of road trip for the Bullets, who suffered a 127-100 pasting at the hands of the Orlando Magic before 15,151 at Orlando Arena last night.

In the Cleveland-Orlando swing, the Bullets were outscored by a total of 258-192.

O'Neal, the Magic's No. 1 draft pick, had his way with the Bullets, scoring a game-high 31 points and pulling down 21 rebounds in a little more than three quarters. The Magic set a franchise record with 69 rebounds as it doubled the Bullets (69-34) on the boards.

"He was a man among boys tonight," said Magic teammate Nick Anderson.

It wasn't just O'Neal.

Dennis Scott was on target from long distance with 27 points, and Anderson added 25. Skiles had a triple double -- 14 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists. You'd expect a talented team like the Cleveland Cavaliers to have its way with the Bullets. But Orlando? Can the Bullets stop anybody on defense?

"We're aren't doing a good job defensively," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld. "I don't think anybody did anything."

Harvey Grant agreed. "When you're playing defense, if one guy breaks down, the other team is going to get an easy basket," Grant said. "We've got to see if we want to play defense."

The Magic never trailed after going on a 19-0 run that opened a 24-8 lead with 3:53 remaining in the first quarter.

Orlando dominated both ends of the boards while denying Washington the drive or the good shot. Meanwhile, O'Neal delivered 12 first-quarter points and Nick Anderson added nine.

It was 37-19 at the end of one quarter.

Washington's Pervis Ellison took nearly a quarter to get going. It also took O'Neal's absence. Ellison scored 14 first-half points, but nine of those came against backup center Greg Kite.

No other Bullet could get in the scoring groove except for rookie Brent Price, who scored more points in the second quarter (11) than in his three previous games.

With Price hitting the three-pointer and its half-court trap bothering the Magic backcourt, Washington cut a 22-point deficit to 59-49 with 17.2 seconds remaining. But the momentum was lost when Anderson made a free throw, then grabbed a loose ball and canned a 20-footer at the buzzer.

The third quarter was as bad as the first. Washington was a dismal 18 percent from the field and was out-rebounded, 17-6, as the Magic took its biggest lead at 100-63 with 1:02 left. Anderson (25 points) and Dennis Scott (27) each had 11 points in the quarter as Orlando shot 64 percent from the field.

Price finished with a team-high 22 points for the Bullets, and Ellison added 20.

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