17 February 1997. Washington Bullets 95, Milwaukee Bucks 93 (record: 24-27)
Game leaders: Howard (20 points), Howard, Muresan (9 rebounds), Strickland (5 assists)
The last time the Milwaukee Bucks visited Washington, their dynamic duo of Vin Baker and Glenn Robinson torched the Bullets for 80 combined points. This time, the result was different - both for the dynamic duo and the Bullets victory column. Baker and Robinson were held to 27 combined points on 11 of 19 shooting, and the Bullets moved into a tie with the Bucks as both teams chase the Orlando Magic for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bullets took the lead in the second quarter, but allowed the Bucks to slowly climb back into the game. With just over a minute left, the Bucks took the lead back, 93-92. This time, the Bullets turned up the defensive pressure, scoring the final 3 points of the game and salting away a much needed home win.
The Bullets started the game by pounding the ball into Gheorghe Muresan, who scored 6 of the Bullets first 8 points. Muresan finished with 15 points. That's just one indicator of how the offensive flow for the Bullets has changed recently: Cheaney also pumped in 15 ponts, and Strickland scored 18 points. They even got 27 points off the bench.
Next up for the Bullets: the Pistons on the road on Wednesday. The Bullets have really been struggling on the road, though they've won 4 of their last 5 at home. The playoff test continues.