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Blazers' Fire Put Out As Bullets Make Plays Down The Stretch
22 March 1997. Washington Bullets 108, Portland Trailblazers 104 (record: 33-35)
Game leaders: Webber (26 points), Webber (12 rebounds), Strickland (11 assists)
This game went down to the wire. One of the hottest teams in the league, winner's of 11 straight games, came into town with a little added incentive: Rasheed Wallace was playing the team that gave up on his potential after one season. Rasheed has played very well (15.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg) for the Blazers as their starting power forward, and tagging the Bullets with a loss would have been nice for Wallace.
But the Bullets had their own side to the story, in particular point guard Rod Strickland. He never got along with Blazers coach P.J. Carlisimo and was traded for Wallace this past off-season. Who would win?
It would come down to the end. The game was tied at 79 after 3 tight quarters of play, and that wouldn't change.
With the game tied at 103, Gheorghe Muresan hit a clutch hook shot over Arvydas Sabonis with 19.3 seconds left. The Blazers came back down and Sabonis got CWebb to foul out with 7 seconds left. But Sabonis only hit one of two free throws, and Chris Whitney was fouled with the ball. Whitney sank both shots, and then Portland never got a 3-point shot off. Cheaney sank one free throw to ice the game.
Other statistical highlights: CWebb also had 7 assists, Howard had 11 boards, and Strickland had 22 points (including 14 of 18 from the free throw line).
Big game, big results. But there are other big games down the road. In the end analysis, the Bullets beat a hot team, and they continue on a mini-winning streak as they try to catch Cleveland for the final playoff spot.
wtf 25 March 1997
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