SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After his buzzer-beating three-point shot settled at the bottom of the net at the end of the third quarter, Washington Bullets forward Chris Webber ran to half-court, faced the crowd and struck a pose. Then he strutted with attitude to the Bullets' bench, the crowd jeering him all the way.
"That side was booing me the most," said Webber, still a villain here after forcing the Warriors to trade him in 1994. "It was fun. I wanted to say, 'Keep booing me.' I tried to hold the [emotions] in, but Juwan [Howard] started smiling. And I had to let it loose."
Webber let loose in a lot of ways last night against his former team, the Golden State Warriors. The forward came up with the sixth triple double of his career: 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in helping the Bullets defeat the Warriors, 110-102, before 16,005 at the San Jose Arena.
The win was the third straight for the Bullets. More importantly, the Bullets got off to an impressive start on a six-game West
Coast trip that will continue tonight in Sacramento.
"It was just nice to get a win," Howard said. "When this is over, we want to be 6-0."
And that is possible, considering that just one of the six opponents has a winning record. And possible because the Bullets, for the first time this season, are starting to look like a fluid team. Howard had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Rod Strickland had 22 points and a season-high 15 assists.
And while Howard and Strickland appear to be ready to play at the level that has been expected of them, it has been Webber who has been a constant all season. Webber also had six steals and three blocks last night.
"He was everywhere, I just thought he was everywhere," Bullets coach Jim Lynam said. "There's a power rating system for players, and if you were to power rate [Webber's game], it would be off the Richter scale."
So were his nine turnovers for the game, but those were quickly forgotten. What were memorable last night were Webber's performance and that of Golden State guard Latrell Sprewell, who scored a career-high 43 points.
Sprewell hit 14 of 23 shots, including six of seven three-point tries. He also converted two four-point plays -- getting fouled while making a three-pointer, and hitting the ensuing free throws. It was the first time in Golden State history that one player had multiple four-point plays in a game. The NBA does not keep records for four-point plays.
In a season during which teams can barely score, this was one of those nights when a lot of shooters were feeling good. The Bullets' front line of Howard, Webber and Gheorghe Muresan combined to hit 19 of 29 shots. Strickland, who has struggled from the field much of the season, missed just five of 14 shots.
The Bullets, in the first half, shot an almost-unheard-of 78.9 percent (15 of 19 shots). At one point in the second quarter, Washington's shooting from the field was better than 80 percent.
"We just didn't defend them all night long," Warriors coach Rick Adelman said. "There's no way you can expect to do that and win."
And the Warriors could not stop Webber, who has had two of his triple doubles against Golden State (he had 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Golden State on Dec. 27, 1995).
Two years ago Webber, in his first game here after being traded to Washington, injured his left shoulder.
Webber was maybe a bit too anxious last night, as he committed eight turnovers in the first half. But he made up for it.
And the Bullets blew the game open at the end of the third quarter, which they finished with a 20-2 run during the last 5: 02.
The finishing blow was the three-pointer by Webber just before the buzzer, giving the Bullets a 96-79 lead going into the final quarter.
From the time he was introduced before the game to the time he fouled out in the closing minutes, Webber was booed loudly. But after the final horn, it was Webber who was grinning from ear to ear as he left the floor where he won the Rookie of the Year award in 1994.
"When the fans get on you, you feed off it. And I fed off it," Webber said. "You want to say something back. I tried to go the whole game without letting any emotions go. I had to let loose."
Opponent: Sacramento Kings
Site: Arco Arena, Sacramento, Calif.
Time: 10: 30
TV/Radio: Ch. 50/WWRC (980 AM)
Outlook: This is the first meeting of the season between the teams. Sacramento (8-15) enters the game a loser of two straight after Saturday night's 106-94 loss to the Clippers. G Mitch Richmond (21.8 ppg) leads the Kings in scoring. Second-year G Tyus Edney has replaced Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in the starting lineup. Washington swept its season series against the Kings last year.
Pub Date: 12/16/96