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Riding the Bullets Bench February

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Bullets Start Quick, But New York Wins Marathon

11 February 1997. New York Knicks 97, Washington Bullets 92 (record: 22-26)
Game leaders: Strickland (21 points), Webber (9 rebounds), Strickland (8 assists)

The Bullets started the game with emotion. They jumped out to a quick 20-8 lead in the first quarter, and everyone thought, "This is the way this group should be playing." The Bullets were flying everywhere, scoring at will, and life was grand.

Sample Logos Obtained
No, I didn't, but the Washington Post did. Pictures of the logos appeared in the print version of the 12 February 1997 Sports section. But the article describes the logos some. No colors were in the actual print logos.
However, the Bullets had to play more than one good quarter of basketball. The fun started slowing down when New York Knicks coach Jeff van Gundy pulled all 5 starters at the same time and substituted 5 bench players. That got the starters' attention; eventually, all of them would get back into the game. But the Bullets' momentum was stymied. A 32-22 lead after 1 quarter was down to 54-52 at halftime.

Then, the Bullets were outscored 20-11 in the third quarter. Even worse, the Bullets looked really tired in this quarter. They missed 6 or 7 free throws in a row. Juwan Howard was gasping for air at the free throw line. They tried a late comeback, getting within 2 points, but Patrick Ewing put the Bullets away with two clutch shots in the paint in the final minute.

Tonight did mark some good news - the return of Tim Legler to the lineup. He word a knee brace on his right knee to protect it, but played well. He was able to keep up with John Starks on defense (something Cheaney couldn't do), and he hit some shots on the move. He also hit a late 3-pointer to get the Bullets closer, but it wasn't enough.

Especially freaky may have been the injury that CWebb suffered during the fourth quarter. He made a pass and then just fell to the ground, unable to move one of his legs. Nobody touched him, but he strained his back. He briefly returned to the game, but left when his effectiveness was limited. Team doctors estimate he'll be out 7 to 10 days.

It was new Bullets coach Bernie Bickerstaff's birthday, but he didn't get the birthday present he wanted - a victory in his first outing as coach. But he wasn't pissed over the effort: "I liked our effort tonight. I was proud of them, they did not quit and that is the danger of playing with emotion, and that is why you want to be consistent as a basketball team. When we lost the emotion, we got physically beaten." That much could be seen.

wtf 18 February 1997

<== The Search For A New Coach Ends Bullets Love This Valentine's Result - Bernie Is A Big Winner  ==>

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