Work in Sports
Exercise in futility
Clippers continue Wizards' woes with 98-89 win
Posted: Sunday November 21, 1999 01:47 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It didn't take Eric Piatkowski long to get his shot back.
In just his second game back after missing seven contests with a rib injury, Piatkowski scored 25 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 98-89 win against the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
"When I was out the last couple of weeks, the only thing I couldn't do was have contact," Piatkowski said. "So while the team was working, I was constantly doing running drills and shooting hundreds upon hundreds of shots. The coach and a couple of other guys were like when you come back, you better be hitting your shots."
Juwan Howard scored 19 points for the Wizards (2-8), who have now lost eight of their last nine games.
The Clippers (3-7) held on for the win after Washington made a furious rally in the third quarter to come back from a 17-point deficit. Howard and Aaron Williams led a 13-3 run to pull the Wizards within six points. Washington cut the deficit to 79-76 when Williams followed a miss early in the fourth quarter.
However, Clippers rookie Lamar Odom, who finished with 21 points, made key baskets down the stretch to keep Washington from taking the lead.
"We really, really didn't want to go home five hours [on a plane] with a loss," Odom said. "We really needed this."
Los Angeles built a 15-point halftime lead with a 3-point assault led by Piatkowski and Troy Hudson.
The Clippers sank eight 3-pointers in the first half, one short of the club record for 3-pointers in a half.
Piatkowski showed no ill effects from his layoff, making 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
Wizards starting point guard Rod Strickland was on the bench to start the game and the second half. Washington Coach Gar Heard had sent Strickland home from practice Friday after the point guard complained of soreness in his back and legs. It was the second time this past week Strickland missed practice due to injury or illness. On Wednesday, he sat out practice because of stomach pains.
Chris Whitney started in Strickland's place. Heard said he will decide Monday whether Strickland will start Tuesday's game against Vancouver.
"We just have to start thinking basketball," he said. "We've got too many side distractions."
Strickland had no interest in discussing what those distractions might be.
"If he's not naming distractions, then I'm not naming them," he said. "I know I'm 100 percent better than this. I don't know what else to say. I've got to crawl my way out of it."
Asked if he was happy playing for the Wizards, Strickland replied: "That's a loaded question."
Notes: Wizards rookie Richard Hamilton has not missed a free throw this season, making all 16 shots. ... Clippers forward Tyrone Nesby missed the game to be with his wife, Luanna, who gave birth to their daughter Tianna Kit Nesby on Thursday. ... Los Angeles was without two of its starters. Forward Maurice Taylor sprained his foot Nov. 14 against Toronto and is day-to-day. Guard Derek Anderson suffered a mild concussion in Milwaukee on Nov. 16. He is also day-to-day.