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Riding the Bullets Bench November

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Sonics Boom, Bullets Bust In Double Overtime Thriller

20 November 1996. Seattle Sonics 115, Washington Bullets 110 (2OT) (record: 4-6)
Game leaders: Webber (34 points), Webber (10 rebounds), Webber (8 assists)

Jimmy Mac Is Back
As the Bullets prepared to take on the Sonics, what did Jim McIlvaine (aka Jimmy Mac) have to say about his Bullets days?
Wow, wow, wow! That, my friends, was an incredible game. The Bullets were down by 16 points with 5:21 remaining and tie the game up to send it to overtime. What's even better is that I was able to see both overtime periods from courtside. The difference between courtside and 8th row behind visitor's bench is much greater than you could imagine.

But about the game. The Bullets were clearly outclassed in the first three-plus quarters. The Sonics played tough defense, they moved the ball well, found the open shooters, and executed well. The Bullets still played them tough and held them under 45% shooting for much of the night. But the Bullets spent much of the game shooting below 40%, and that doesn't help.

Post-Game Interview Questions
But Webber took this team on his back. He scored the last 5 points of regulation and all 10 points of the first overtime. Then the Bullets stopped running plays for Webber. They didn't even seem to try to set plays for him, and the game slipped away. Webber did have a season high 34 points and a career high 7 blocks. But Howard had another off night and wasn't there in crunch time.

Unfortunately, Big Gheorghe did not play; he was out with a case of the flu. Still, I wonder what sort of difference he would have made. Jim McIlvaine didn't get extended playing time, as he was rather ineffective on the floor, although he did have a blocked shot and 8 rebounds.

And Calbert Cheaney - well, he might as well have had the flu. He didn't score in the 22 minutes of playing time he had. He was invisible. He was yanked halfway through the third quarter and never returned. Jaren Jackson played much of the first three quarters when Calbert wasn't playing, then the Bullets went with a double PG rotation with Whitney and Strickland. Murray also played well in stretches, with 16 points, although his percentage was anemic (5 of 16).

This was an exciting game to watch, and when I left it didn't feel like a loss. The Bullets fought hard with one of the best teams in the league and took them to the wire. Hopefully, this is a good building block for the club and they can launch a few wins off of it. One cool thing - those retro/throwback uniforms look cool! I like the blue color, and the upper jersey is just different enough to look great. They were replicas of the 1973-74 jerseys that the Bullets wore when they first moved to Washington. I shortly hope to develop some pictures I took and will post them here.

As for Cheaney - well, I think Murray and Jackson are both hustling more and participating more and deserve more playing time. Cheaney is a better player than he is showing, but he's not lighting things up, and that's what this team needs from its role players. The saga continues...

wtf 21 November 1996

 <-- Muresan Stands Tall As Celts Fade In Fourth Bullets Prep For Philly As Cheaney Searches For Answers  -->

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