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Poor shooting, turnovers prove Bullets' undoing

THE BALTIMORE SUN

MILWAUKEE -- The intensity and drive were there. There was nTC no quit in the Washington Bullets last night.

But the scrappy attitude went for naught when the Bullets faltered down the stretch and lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 100-92, at the Bradley Center.

"We just couldn't get the job done when it counted," said Bullets guard Scott Skiles, who finished with 12 points.

Todd Day, Marty Conlon and Johnny Newman helped seal Washington's fate.

With the Bullets holding an 88-86 lead, Day made a three-pointer, his fifth in nine attempts for the game, to give the Bucks an 89-88 lead with 2:48 left. Day then stole the ball and gave it to Conlon, who hit a jump shot from the top of the key for a 91-88 lead.

"I think they started to come apart right there," Day said of the Bullets' late-game troubles. "We made them take quick shots at the end."

And bad passes, too. Chris Webber turned the ball over and then committed a foul on Vin Baker, who hit both free throws to give the Bucks a 93-88 lead with 1:44 left.

Calbert Cheaney cut the lead to 93-90 on a slashing drive to the basket, but then Newman took over.

Newman, coming off the bench, hit a three-pointer with 35 seconds left to give the Bucks a six-point lead and damage the Bullets' hopes for a victory.

"I really give Johnny Newman credit for having the guts to come off the bench and take that shot," Skiles said. "He hit that three-pointer and that made it tough for us to fight back."

The Bullets had opportunities to shoot in the last minute, but the only points they could muster were two free throws by Cheaney with 24 seconds remaining. Webber and Cheaney each missed three-pointers in the last 30 seconds.

"We just couldn't score at the end," Washington coach Jim Lynam said. "I was concerned coming in after an emotional downer last night, but I felt we responded pretty well."

After coming off a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in which a 21-point lead evaporated, Washington showed early that it was not prepared to let another game disappear without putting up a challenge.

The Bullets stayed within striking distance throughout the game, their biggest deficit in the first three quarters being eight points.

Juwan Howard was the main reason, 12 of his 20 points coming in the first half. Webber also was hot, scoring 10 of his 18 in the first half.

Day finished with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Conlon came off the bench to score 14 points, and his production helped open up the shooting for Day, especially in the final quarter.

"They had to start guarding Marty and that left me open, and when I'm open, I feel like I can make it," Day said. "Fortunately for me and the team, they went in."

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