Bullets' team effort too much for Nets


LANDOVER -- There was New Jersey Nets guard Kenny Anderson, running circles around the Washington defenders. And there was teammate Derrick Coleman, scoring on the inside and dominating the boards.

But while the Nets proved to be an effective two-man team last night, the Bullets were benefiting from a balanced offensive attack that was good enough for a 110-102 win that ended Washington's three-game losing streak.

Chris Webber scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Don MacLean had 21 points off the bench. And Scott Skiles, while he bTC failed to score in double-figures, had a game-high 15 assists. It all helped the Bullets avoid going winless in the three-game homestand.

Anderson would finish the game with 31 points and eight assists. Coleman had 28 points and 12 rebounds. But no other New Jersey player scored in double figures.

Washington's lead going into the fourth quarter was 83-79, and the Bullets went on to hit seven of their first nine shots of the final period. When Don MacLean scored on a running hook in the lane with 7:17 left the Bullets had a 99-91 lead.

And the Bullets were never threatened from there, winning impressively after Friday's disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the Baltimore Arena.

What did the worst team in the Eastern Conference have in common with a team that would have the eighth and final spot for the playoffs if the season ended today? Neither team played anything resembling defense in the first half.

The Bullets shot 62.2 percent in the first half. But the Nets were even better, hitting 62.8 percent of their shots in taking a 63-56 halftime lead.

For New Jersey it was a first half dominated by Anderson. The 6-foot-1 guard scored 15 of his 20 first-half points in the first quarter, when he hit six of seven shots from the field.

His counterpart Skiles didn't have that bad a first half statistically, handing off 10 assists in 15 minutes. And it was Skiles lay-up just over a minute into the game that gave the Bullets their biggest first-half lead, 7-2.

From there the Nets responded with a 20-10 run, with Anderson doing most of the damage. Anderson scored eight points during the run, and his three-pointer with 4:41 left gave the Nets a 22-17 lead.

The quick pace of the game forced Bullets coach Jim Lynam to replace Gheorghe Muresan with MacLean, and MacLean provided a spark. His short base-line jumper with 12 seconds remaining brought the Bullets within 30-29.

But Anderson's three-pointer with under a second left gave the Nets a 33-29 first-quarter lead.

Early in the second quarter, Anderson would give the Nets their biggest lead of the half, 42-33, on a three-pointer from the top of the key. The closest the Bullets would come the rest of the half was 53-50 after two MacLean free throws with 3:16 left.

But the Nets repeatedly were able to pop open for easy baskets, taking advantage of a trapping defense by the Bullets that was a step slow in reacting. New Jersey was able to increase its lead to 61-53 after an Armon Gilliam lay-up with 1:14 left and, behind Anderson's 20 points and Coleman's 16, had a 63-56 halftime lead.

New Jersey's biggest lead of the game came early in the third quarter when a short jumper by Dwayne Schintzius put the Nets ahead, 71-60.

But the Bullets came back, going on a 17-4 run. MacLean ended the run with a lay-up that gave the Washington a 77-75 lead.

Washington would lead by as many as five at 80-75 after Webbestripped Coleman, scored on a driving lay-up and converted the three-point play with 2:20 left. The Bullets would go into the final period with an 83-79 lead.

NOTE: 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.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad