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No time for weary Bullets to rest

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Just before the Bullets boarded the bus after beating the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night for their first win in three weeks, Washington guard Scott Skiles was asked whether he looked forward to having a couple of days off for the holiday.

"It'll be a lift," Skiles said. "Better if we could turn around and play the Clippers again on the 26th."

Washington ended an eight-game losing streak thanks to the Clippers, the NBA's worst team. But it's back to work tomorrow )) night when the league's best team, the Orlando Magic, visits USAir Arena.

After playing eight of their past 10 games on the road, the Bullets will be home for three of their next four.

"We haven't played well at home," said Bullets coach Jim Lynam, whose team is 3-6 away from the road. "It'll just be nice to get

home because we've been on the road for a long stretch."

Washington's next four games are against the team with the best record in the league, the Magic (20-5); the team with the longest winning streak in the league, Wednesday at Cleveland (eight straight); the team with the second-longest winning streak in the Western Conference, home Friday against the San Antonio Spurs (six straight); and the team with the third-best record in the league, at home Jan. 3 against the Seattle SuperSonics (16-7).

Playing without Chris Webber, who was injured at Golden State on Thursday, the Bullets figure to have a tough stretch ahead. The Bullets said Webber will miss six weeks; Webber hopes to be back in four.

"Every game for us is going to be a war for a while," Lynam said. "This team is having a lot of trouble scoring points."

DTC Friday's win was just the fifth time in the past month that the team scored 100 points in a game, and this is in a season in which the new rules are supposed to benefit the offense. With Webber out, the team is missing 18.4 points per game. Rex Chapman, who has missed seven of the past eight games with a sore groin, is an additional 17.9 points. And Don MacLean, on the injured list with tendinitis in his knees, was averaging 14.6 points before missing the past eight games.

Now Kevin Duckworth, who sat out most of Friday's game with an ongoing problem with his left Achilles' tendon, is scheduled to see a doctor. With as many injuries as the Bullets have suffered, it's no wonder that Kevin Johnson -- in his first year with the Bullets -- is the early favorite for NBA Trainer of the Year.

Lynam is looking for his reserves to step up. Larry Stewart (14 points against the Clippers), Mitchell Butler (22 points), Gheorghe Muresan (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Doug Overton (eight points) all played well Friday.

"I told the players that when you get the opportunity, you have to do something with it," Lynam said. "Sometimes it doesn't happen in this league too often."

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