LANDOVER -- It has taken two-thirds of the season to do it, but the Washington Bullets are finally healthy and finally able to put a full team on the floor. And for at least a night, the combination seemed quite appealing.
There was Chris Webber finally finding his shooting touch, hitting at least half his shots for the first time in nine games.
And there was Scott Skiles putting together his first double-digit assist game in six outings.
And there was Don MacLean and Rex Chapman giving strong performances off the bench as the Bullets defeated the New Jersey Nets, 110-102, last night before a sellout crowd of 18,756 at the USAir Arena. The victory was the Bullets' third in four tries against the Nets and ended a three-game losing streak.
It was impressive in that it came against a New Jersey team that had won three straight games and had slipped into the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"We beat a good team," Bullets coach Jim Lynam said. "They've been in a good stretch."
But the Nets had just two players contributing. Kenny Anderson was close to a triple-double with 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Derrick Coleman scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. But no other player scored in double figures for New Jersey, which managed just 39 second-half points.
No such problem for the Bullets. Webber scored 23 points, hitting 10 of 16 shots, and grabbed 14 rebounds. Juwan Howard scored 22 points, and has now scored 20 or more in six of his last seven games. MacLean and Chapman chipped in 21 and 15, respectively, off the bench and Skiles had 15 assists.
The Bullets needed last night's effort after Friday night's dismal loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. But it looked like another one of those nights in the third quarter when Dwayne Schintzius scored on a short jumper with 7:58 left that gave the Nets their biggest lead, 71-60.
But the Bullets threw a trapping defense at the Nets, and it worked. New Jersey scored just eight points the rest of the quarter and trailed, 83-79, going into the final period.
"The trap took a little out of their game," Lynam said.
Washington hit seven of its first nine shots in the fourth quarter, and never looked back. MacLean had nine of his points in the final period, when the Bullets led by as many as 11.
"We played a real good game down the stretch," Webber said. "We made our shots and we did a lot of good things out there."
Webber can't say that about his play of late. He's consistently scored about 20 points a game in recent outings, but his play has been far from consistent. He scored 20 against Milwaukee, but hit just eight of 20 shots. Last night he was able to hit his shots and dominate the boards.
"Some games I go stretches of five to 10 minutes where I don't know where I am," Webber said. "We as a team played great [last night] and that's important. I wouldn't care if I scored zero, as long as we won. I'm happy."
Webber admitted the constant losing had been getting to him. "I think losing has gotten to everybody," Webber said. "Maybe with me it went overboard, it really hurt. [Last night] was the first time I've been myself lately, real enthusiastic. I just have to go back to myself, playing my game."
NOTES: For the second game in a row Chapman played some point guard, backing up Skiles. Doug Overton played just one minute. Mitchell Butler, Anthony Tucker and Jim McIlvaine didn't play as Lynam appears to be settling on a seven-man rotation. . . . The Bullets set a new franchise record for sellouts in a season last night, playing before its 21st capacity crowd. Washington had 20 sellouts during the 1992-93 season.