Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
NBA Recap (Seattle-Washington)
Posted: Wed December 3, 1997 at 12:01 a.m ESTWASHINGTON 95, SEATTLE 78
The Washington Wizards christened the new MCI Center with their first home win of the season, defeating the Seattle Supersonics, 95-78, in front of President Clinton, NBA commissioner David Stern and a sellout crowd of 20,674. Juwan Howard and Tracy Murray scored 18 points apiece to lead six players in double figures for the Wizards, who had lost their first five home games, all at the US Airways Arena. The win leaves Golden State as the league's only winless team at home. "This truly was worth the wait," Howard said. "With all the atmosphere and intensity, this was really special. It didn't feel totally at home but we'll get used to that." The $200 million MCI Center opened 24 years to the day of the first event at the Capital Centre, later renamed to the US Airways Arena. On December 2nd, 1973, the Bullets -- now the Wizards -- defeated the SuperSonics, 98-96, in front of 17,500. "It was a fantastic day. It was a fantastic night," said Wizards owner Abe Pollin, whose birthday is Wednesday. "Some people are lucky. I'm just happy to be one of them. This is without a doubt the best arena. What a nice birthday present." "I wasn't concerned about the President. He doesn't shoot," Wizards coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We really wanted to get this one for (owner) Mr. Pollin." It was the best defensive effort of the season for Washington, which snapped Seattle's seven-game winning streak. The Wizards beat the Sonics for just the second time in the 1990s. Vin Baker scored 22 points and Detlef Schrempf added 17 for the Sonics, who were held to their lowest total of the season in the opener of a five-game road trip. Starting guards Gary Payton (nine) and Hersey Hawkins (two) combined for just 11 points. "They made their shots, we didn't," Baker said. "We wanted to start our road trip well. Unfortunately, we didn't do it." Terry Davis scored 10 of his season-high 14 points in the first quarter as Washington opened a 29-25 lead. A basket by David Wingate cut the deficit to 30-27 in the opening minute of the second quarter before Murray made two three-pointers and scored eight points in a 16-3 burst. Calbert Cheaney's basket capped the run and gave the Wizards a 45-30 lead with 6:23 to go in the half. Five points by Dale Ellis and four from Schrempf helped Seattle close to 51-45 at halftime. But Murray scored five points in the third quarter, including a three-pointer with 3:13 to play that gave the Wizards a 68-55 advantage. A three-pointer by Greg Anthony pulled the Sonics within 79-68 with 8:18 remaining, but Cheaney made consecutive jumpers and Murray hit a three-pointer to give Washington its largest lead, 86-68, with 6:25 to play. "It's a new beginning for us," Murray said. "The shots felt good. I felt good. There was a lot of energy tonight. It still doesn't matter who's in the stands. I'm just glad we got the win to start this place off on a positive note." Rod Strickland had 13 points and nine assists and Chris Webber added 10 and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who shot 45 percent (39-of-86) from the field and held a 46-35 rebounding advantage. Cheaney scored 10 points and Davis and Howard grabbed 10 boards apiece. "We got our shots tonight," Webber said. "We won this for ourselves, for the fans, for Mr. Pollin. We played 48 minutes tonight, which we haven't been doing. It was really a pleasure to be part of." Ellis scored 13 points and Schrempf pulled down 10 rebounds for the Sonics, who shot 46 percent (32-of-70) but had 21 turnovers. Payton shot 4-of-15 from the field and Hawkins was 1-of-4. "We got outworked tonight in the paint, on the boards and defensively," Sonics coach George Karl said. "Foul trouble hurt us in the first half. We had an opportunity to come back, but we didn't do anything in the second half."
© 2003 SportsTicker Enterprises, LP
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.