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Soon-To-Be Wizards Impervious To Magic
1 November 1996. Washington Bullets 96, Orlando Magic 92 (record: 1-0)
Game leaders: Strickland (20 points), Howard, Wallace (10 rebounds), Strickland (9 assists)
Last year, the Magic started 33-0 in the O-rena, and home-court advantage meant something. This year, the Magic start 0-1, thanks to excellent efforts from the new Bullets troika of Howard, Webber and Strickland. The Bullets executed down the stretch, got their points, and even got a beneficial call from the officials?
What Are The Championship Odds? In the 1 November 1996 edition of USA Today, Danny Sheridan placed the Bullets odds of winning the 1996-97 NBA championship at 100:1, the same as the Portland Trailblazers and Atlanta Hawks, tied for 11th in the leauge.
What? The Bullets got a call? I'm not kidding. Gerald Wilkins hit a shot from the 3-point arc that would have tied the game at 93 with 6.5 seconds left, except the officials on the court ruled the shot was a 2-pointer. The Magic were forced to foul, and the Bullets closed the game out going 3 of 4 from the line. TV replays showed that Wilkins foot was not on the line and it should have tied the game.
Rookie Ben Wallace did not look like a rookie, getting 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks in 19 minutes. Yeah, he didn't score, but his activity is definitely contagious. And this is a good message for the rest of the league that Bullets are here now to compete.
wtf 7 November 1996