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Riding the Bullets Bench January

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Knicks Stifle Bullets, Though Lorenzo Williams Returns

2 Janaury 1997. New York Knicks 92, Washington Bullets 80 (record: 15-15)
Game leaders: Webber (19 points), Webber (17 rebounds), Strickland (8 assists)

This one showed just about everything that is wrong with the Bullets. There was poor shooting, poor hustle, selfish play, and awful substitution decisions. And what you wind up with in the end is yet another loss. Neither team looked good, but the Knicks wound up with the win.

Muresan's Hip
No, not that hip (the injured one). As in, "Gheorghe is a good brother." CWebb said so. Believe it.
What may have disappointed me most was the selfish play of the team's stars. The Knicks were doing a good job sagging into the middle to deny easy inside shots to Webber, Howard and Strickland. That meant the Bullets needed to settle for jumpers. Unfortunately, the Bullets stars generally chose to take the shot themselves, rather than passing out of the doubleteams and longer jumpers. There was no significant ball rotation, and it showed.

This was further evidenced by the fact that Gheorghe Muresan had 2 shots in the first half. If Lynam has ever paid attention in the past, Ewing hates playing Muresan - in particular, playing defense on Muresan. Well, when the Bullets tried going against that matchup in the third quarter, it was effective. Ewing was forced to work on defense, instead of being allowed to sag down inside on the doubleteam (he finished the game with 7 blocked shots when allowed to sag down). Talk about a wasted offensive presence.

However, the game did mark the return of Lorenzo Williams to the active lineup (Matt Fish was released). And Williams immediately showed his presence. In his 9 minutes on the floor in the first half, he had 1 rebound, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot. He was everywhere, challenging shots and passes, and he also played tough on Ewing. Unfortunately, his limited offensive presence also makes him a liability on the court, but his defensive activity reminds me a lot of how Harvey Grant is always flying around the court. It's nice to have him available.

Now, the Bullets are back at .500. This was a winnable game. Credit should go to the Knicks defense, but the Bullets should have been able to do a better job at getting good shots. Pass the ball, guys! Stop being so selfish about your stats!

wtf 6 January 1997

<== MCI Center Continues To Go Up, Looks Impressive Hornets Find Shots Tough As Bullets Crush Pesky Hornets  ==>

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