10 Janaury 1997. Washington Bullets 102, Los Angeles Clippers 98 (record: 18-15)
Game leaders: Webber (25 points), Howard, Muresan (11 rebounds), Strickland (7 assists)
This game was remarkably similar to the Bullets effort in Los Angeles last month against the Clippers. The Bullets storm to a big lead, only to watch the Clippers come storming back. In LA, the Clippers actually retook the lead. Tonight, they did the same thing, taking the lead at the 3:17 mark, but only scored one more basket the rest of the night. They missed a layup to tie the game with less than 10 seconds remaining, and the Bullets hit 2 free throws to win the game.
Jackson And Wallace Are Keepers
Jaren Jackson and Ben Wallace, two players signed to non-guaranteed contracts, got their contracts guaranteed by being on the roster on January 10. Even if they are dropped before the end of the season, the Bullets still must pay their entire salaries ($247,500 and $220,000, respectively).
Cheaney was the hot hand early for the Bullets, hitting 5 of 6 shots in the first quarter. He finished the game with a season high 22 points (on 11 of 13 shooting). Howard also chipped in 20 points, but free throw shooting almost killed the Bullets - they shot 14 of 28 from the line. In particular, Gheorghe Muresan only hit 1 of 7 free throws.
The Clippers had actually tied the game on a 13-0 run that ended with 7:35 remaining. They took a 2-point lead with 4:01 left, and then regained it with 3:17 remaining. So, the Bullets escape what could have been an embarassing home loss and are 3 games over .500 for the first time since Webber and Howard arrived on the roster in 1994.