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Wizards Ride Hot Hands To Break Spurs
26 November 1997. Washington Wizards 98, San Antonio Spurs 94 (record: 5-10)
Game leaders: Howard (25 points), Davis (8 rebounds), Strickland (17 assists)
Well, Bernie certainly played the hot hands in this game. Only 2 players (Murray, Whitney) came off the bench for the Wizards, for a grand total of 7 points and 29 minutes played. Only CWebb played less than 40 minutes in the game, and that's because he spent parts of the first and second half in foul trouble.
Howard played 47 minutes and sccored 25 points on 11 of 18 shooting. Strickland was on fire with 23 points on 8 of 11 shooting in 44 minutes, and CWebb had 24 points on 11 of 23 shooting, but hit 2 critical 3-pointers, one as time was about to expire in the third quarter. The team shot 54.7% from the field and only commited 10 turnovers during the game.
However, they had problems with free throw shooting: 13 of 30 (43.3%) for the game. Only 1 player (Strickland) averaged over 50% for the game, and he was 7 of 13. When he was missing free throws late, you could see it was because he was tired (Bernie is burning him out with excess playing time). CWebb was 0 for 2, Juwan was 3 of 7, and Cheaney was 3 of 8.
And that last bit, where Cheaney was intentionally fouled away from the ball, without him being even close to being involved, was a crock ruling. If there ever was a case for an intentional foul call, that was it, and the referees didn't have the guts to make the correct call (2 free throws and possession). Of course, the refs made a mockery of the game with their hideous calls both ways (though more in favor of San Antonio, once again) that San Antonio coach Gregg Poppovich was right to go ballistic and get tossed. No consistency by the referees at all.
Still, the Wizards break their 6-game losing streak, and I don't think it hurt them that they played the Spurs twice in the pre-season, because you do get familiar with your opponent, and that can't hurt you when you play them yet again.
Now, we head toward the close-out of USAirways Arena. Against the world champion Chicago Bulls, who (in case you've forgotten) the Wizards have already beaten once this year. Should be a fun and exciting game.
wtf 29 November 1997
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