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Bullets Finish Ice Cold As Suns Finish Red Hot
18 December 1996. Phoenix Suns 114, Washington Bullets 107 (record: 11-12)
Game leaders: Strickland (20 points), Webber (12 rebounds), Strickland (11 assists)
There wasn't much defense played in this game, that's for sure. The Bullets just committed a lot of fouls (34) and got cold shooting in the 4th quarter. The Bullets were down by 7 after 3 quarters, but had a 4 point lead with 3:46 left and didn't score another point in the game.
By that point, Chris Webber had already fouled out, and Muresan would eventually follow suit. The Suns shot 44 free throw attempts during the game, and also repeatedly beat the Bullets down the court for easy buckets in the transition game. Teams really know to run on the Bullets following a defensive rebound.
Strickland's Game Is Picking Up It's nice to see that Rod Strickland is getting more comfortable with his teammates. An added benefit is that he is also starting to hit his shot more and is driving more confidently to the basket.
It was scary how close the Bullets were to winning this game. Several baskets went in and out, and Gheorghe Muresan's offensive putback was waved off for a seemingly "phantom" call. And Gheorghe fouled out on the play. Still, the Bullets failed to execute when it mattered, and now they have their winning streak end. And the Bullets still haven't beaten the Suns in 17 straight tries.
One other piece of bad news came out of this game. Calbert Cheaney injured his hip flexor muscle in the first quarter and did not return. The severity of the injury has not been determined, but it is a similar injury that kept Muresan out of training camp through the first couple of weeks of the season.
wtf 20 December 1996
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