LANDOVER -- For most of the night, the blank expression on the face of Washington Bullets center Pervis Ellison was matched only by his on-court performance. One night after being manhandled by Shaquille O'Neal, Ellison was roughed up by New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing.
But in the end Ellison was the center of attention for the sellout crowd of 18,756 last night at the Capital Centre, scoring the Bullets' final six points -- including the final two on a dunk with 18.8 seconds left -- as Washington won its first game of the season, 106-104, over the previously unbeaten New York Knicks.
Who would have expected that result? The Knicks had beaten the Bullets six straight games, and -- with a busy off-season that netted seven new, quality players -- were being picked by many to win the Atlantic Division. But the Bullets were able to rally from a six-point deficit with a little more than three minutes left to win.
All five Washington starters scored in double figures, led by Rex Chapman's 27 points.
"Just coming back and winning was great -- this group really needed this," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld, whose team had lost two games to Orlando and Cleveland this week by an average of 33 points. "They needed to get some reward for their effort. We got a win at home, before a packed house and against a very good team."
Behind the hot shooting of former North Carolina guard Hubert Davis (22 points, eight in the fourth quarter) the Knicks held a 101-95 lead after Davis hit a 15-foot jumper with 3:12 left. A 19-foot jumper by Michael Adams (17 points, seven assists) and two free throws by Harvey Grant (14 points) cut the lead to 101-99, and then Ellison woke up.
First the 6-foot-10, 225-pound center picked up a loose ball kept alive by rookie Tom Gugliotta (16 points, 14 rebounds) and scored on a layup to tie the game at 101. Then, after a Ewing jumper put the Knicks up by two, Ellison was fouled after an offensive rebound and hit two free throws to tie it.
After Ewing was fouled and hit one of two free throws for a 104-103 New York lead, the Bullets got the ball to Chapman following a timeout. When the guard drove to the basket, Ewing jumped over to help. Chapman tossed up an off-balance shot, which Ellison grabbed in mid-air and dunked in with two hands for a 105-104 Washington lead with 18.8 seconds left.
"Rex was going to curl off me, and we knew Patrick was going to come help," Ellison said. "When he did, I was under the basket by myself."
On their next possession, the Knicks went to Ewing (24 points, 13 rebounds), but he passed to John Starks after the Bullets double-teamed the post.
Starks' jumper from the top of the key was long, and Chapman was fouled going for the rebound. He hit one of two free throws, ending the scoring.