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Hornets Buzz Listless (Dare I Say Overconfident?) Wizards
7 November 1997. Charlotte Hornets 107, Washington Wizards 92 (record: 2-3)
Game leaders: Webber (24 points), Davis (12 rebounds), Strickland (5 assists)
What an un-fun (it may not be a word, but it's the best way to describe the experience) way to spend a Friday night after getting through the rain-soaked Washington Beltway. Yeah, the score was close early, but after a while it became a joke, especially in the second half.
All team discipline broke down, and I feel coach Bernie Bickerstaff got fed up with it. Yeah, the Wizards made a brief run to get within 12 points after 3 quarters, and you got a little bit of hope (especially after the near-comeback the previous week at home against the Heat) that may something exciting was brewing.
CWebb decided he would crank up 3-pointers rather than chipping away at the lead (which they had been doing successfully, as the Hornets offense stalled for a while). At that point (which still had 6 minutes to go) Bickerstaff threw in the towel and put 4 reserves in with Rod Strickland. (Strickland would also later be replaced when the game was thoroughly out of reach.)
The only players that seemed to show up were Terry Davis and Strickland. Davis got his first double-double as a Wizard, but he seemed to be a reluctant participant on offense. He was awkward making plays, but he was scoring better than the rest of the team, and at least he was trying. Everyone else seemed listless.
One thing I must say - this Hornets team is for real and stands a good shot at deposing the Bulls as the Central Division champions. They play good defense, have solid outside shooting, and a certain attitude that's necessary in a champion. And the deal for BJ Armstrong, plus the eventual return of Bobby Phills, will only add to the backcourt firepower and defense this team brings. This team has a chance to go far.
I'm still not sure about our Wizards, though. Will the real Wizards please stand up?
wtf 14 November 1997
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