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Riding the Bullets Bench April

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Another Back-to-Back Fade For Bullets As Hornets Prevail

12 April 1997. Charlotte Hornets 98, Washington Bullets 96 (record: 40-38)
Game leaders: Webber (25 points), Webber (9 rebounds), Strickland (8 assists)

This seemed like a replay of the Minnesota game of a week ago. The Bullets have a late lead, but the game is the second of a back-to-back set. And that late lead fades as the other team makes the plays down the stretch that count.

Bullets To Protest Officiating
I didn't see the game, but the officiating was bad enough to warrant a protest to the league by the Bullets. Do the officials have it in for the Bullets? You decide. But after reading the comment of one official and seeing the description of other blatant calls, it seems clear in this game what happened.
I won't retype the Washington Post account here. Instead, go and read J.A. Adande's post-game summary.

However, my first reaction was the Bullets failed to execute down the stretch, possibly because they got tired. This sounded like the fade against Minnesota, where they couldn't execute offensively when it counted. And this was the second game in a back-to-back series, where the team had to travel after a home game the previous night.

Still, that doesn't excuse losing a 10-point lead with 5:16 to play. Or the poor games for Muresan and Cheaney. This loss leaves the Bullets tied with the Cavaliers with 4 games to go for the eighth playoff spot. The seventh playoff spot is virtually out of reach. How does the playoff race look? According to The Sporting News:

Here's the tiebreaker break down: Washington and Cleveland are tied right now, and the final game of the season between the teams could determine the final spot.

Washington leads the season series, 2-1, and a win in the final game would give the Bullets a tie-breaker. If the Bullets lose the last game and finish in a tie with Cleveland, the season series will be 2-2.

The next tiebreaker is winning percentage within the Eastern Conference. Both, going into Friday, were 23-25 against Eastern Conference foes, and all remaining games are against conference opponents. A season-ending tie would mean identical records against conference opponents.

The next tiebreaker is winning percentage against conference playoff teams. Washington is currently 6-18 (.250) with games left against Charlotte and Orlando. Cleveland is 6-19 (240) with games left against Charlotte, Orlando and Detroit.

Good luck to the Bullets as they chase this down. Every victory is important.

wtf 14 April 1997

<== Bullets Tear Down Nets With Accurate Shooting Against Woeful Opponent Rookie Continues Individual Record-Setting As Bullets Seek Team Accomplishments  ==>

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