27 February 1997. Los Angeles Lakers 122, Washington Bullets 107 (record: 25-31)
Game leaders: Howard (26 points), Howard (12 rebounds), Strickland (8 assists)
If there's one thing the Lakers seem to love to do against the Bullets, it's run. And run they did. The Lakers held a 23-7 point advantage in fast break points, and converted 17 Bullets turnovers into 29 points. You can't win a game when the opponent has that kind of advantage against you.
The Lakers scorched the Bullets early and late. Lakers' point guard Nick van Exel scored 18 of his 31 points in the first quarter. He accounted for half of the Lakers' 36 points in the quarter, repeated scoring on Rod Strickland. However, the Bullets were able to tie the game at halftime at 64.
The Ball Is His
Bernie Bickerstaff is laying down the law - the ball must be in Strickland's hands. His ability to create for himself and others cannot be denied, but is it enough to get the Bullets back to their winning ways?
That was it. Elden Campbell repeatedly burned the Bullets, going for 38 points on 15 of 25 shooting. The Bullets got solid efforts from Juwan (26 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists), CWebb (24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks), Strickland (23 points, 8 assists), and Tracy Murray (15 points, 4 rebounds). But no other Bullet showed up to play. And when you allow the opponent to shoot 54.7% from the field, plus all of the fastbreak and turnover points, you will lose the game.