TORONTO -- With Chris Webber probably out of the lineup for the next two months, Juwan Howard is expected to shoulder the load for the Washington Bullets. For the second straight game, Howard showed that he's more than capable of doing the job.
Howard scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 35 minutes last night as the Bullets held off a late rally by the expansion Toronto Raptors for a 99-89 win before 16,821 at SkyDome.
It was the second straight win of the preseason for the Bullets, who got 17 points from Calbert Cheaney. Carlos Rogers scored 18 points, and Zan Tabak and rookie Damon Stoudamire added 16 and 15, respectively, to lead the Raptors.
Asked whether he had told Howard to step up his game in Webber's absence, Bullets coach Jim Lynam smiled and said, "I wrote the speech today; I just haven't given it to him."
Howard said no speech was necessary, that he was just carrying the burden of the expectations that have increased after a solid rookie season.
"I felt I had to be responsible before he got hurt," Howard said. "Every player has to give on this team. We need everyone."
The Bullets had a 57-46 lead at the half, with Howard (12 points), Cheaney (11) and Don MacLean (11) leading the way. And they began the third quarter with a 22-11 run, leading by as much as 73-67 after a short jumper by Gheorghe Muresan with 3:42 left.
When Tabak scored on a dunk with 7:34 left in the game, the Raptors had cut the deficit to 82-79. After falling behind by seven after a layup by Howard with 4:19 left, the Raptors again got to within three after a layup by Tabak made it 90-87 with just over two minutes left.
Washington closed the game with a 9-2 run.