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Saying A Sad Good-Bye, As The Wizards Go Winless In Landover
29 November 1997. Chicago Bulls 88, Washington Wizards 83 (record: 5-11)
Game leaders: Howard (22 points), Howard (11 rebounds), Strickland (13 assists)
We've seen this story before, so I shouldn't be surprised by it. In fact, it reminds me a lot of last year's playoff game against the Bulls at USAir Arena. The Wizards race to an early lead (in this case, 33-18 after the first quarter on 61% shooting), and in fact get the lead up to 38-21 early in the second quarter.
Then the roof falls in. The Wizards score 14, 19 and 17 points in the final 3 quarters and give the game away to the Bulls. It fell apart in the third, when they were outscored 31-14, having allowed Michael Jordan to score the final 10 Bulls' points of the quarter (including a falling out of bounds 3-pointer as time expired). The last quarter was worse, because the Wizards only scored 10 points (and commited 6 of their 11 turnovers on the evening) in the first 11 minutes of the fourth quarter before they began fouling the Bulls every possession.
The Bulls never had a lead of more than 4 points until the fourth quarter, but the Wizards couldn't generate enough offense to take advantage of the lethargic Bulls offense. Rod Strickland had a bad offensive game, only shooting 3 of 15 from the field and missing several lay-ups. Cheaney also fired up several blanks (4 of 12) more than negating Howard's (10 of 23) and CWebb's (10 of 22, but 0 of 5 from 3-point range) better nights. 13 points off the bench weren't enough, especially when CWebb was out getting bloody scratches over both his eyes fixed.
So, the Wizards go 0-fer in USAirways Arena. Nothing like that home-field advantage, eh? Let's hope that things aren't that bad in the new arena, MCI Center. But their first opponent, the Seattle Sonics, is only 12-3. The good thing is that when the Bullets opened the Capital Centre 24 years ago against Seattle, they won that game. That's a good omen - isn't it?
wtf 30 November 1997
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